Fundamental Observation
Bottle Logic Brewing

Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
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Stout - American Imperial
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: 271 | Ratings: 1,470 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by exl_90:
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exl_90 from Texas

4.59/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sep 14, 2015
More User Reviews:
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.71/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For those of us who prefer out stouts served with a spoon and fork, the Bottle Logic offers a stout of epic porportions that are anything from either fundamental or logical.

But their lavish Fundamental Observation is just that. You don't really pour the beer, but rather simply open the top and let it crawl out all on its own. As it slowly nestles into the snifter, it does so with a lavish tar-like austere. A patient release of a thick mocha-stained blanket of foam is marshmallowy and firmly dense. Equally as lavish are the dessert-like aromas that swirl like walnut brownies dipped in madeira with an initial sip that's deeply saturating with dark chocolate, marshmallow cream and sweet booze.

Heavy and cake-like, the middle palate is awash with bittersweet chocolate, black-strap molasses, silky espresso, roasting walnut and heavy whipping cream- all in a soft and elegant vanilla wrap. Slow to resist any fade, its this combination that rides deep into the finish with a consistent and dedicated flavor spread; only allowing the tethers of bourbon, port and fruit, fortified madeira wine to weave into the sweetness and pulling the taste togethers.

Any full-bodied claim would be an understatement as the ale wraps around the tongue like brownie batter. Its tawny, tangy and simmering alcohol warmth embraces the lightly cloying sweetness and invites much more of a savory sipping affair than in the promotion of anything drinkable or quick. Its flavors are long and lingering reaching deep into the next sip. Its a stout that's not a pairing for dessert, it replaces dessert altogether.

Sep 08, 2015
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SDwomp from California

4.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The hype train got me, and I finally had the chance to trade for and try this beer.

Incredible color and smell to this beer. Decent mouthfeel and a bit sweet to taste. BL must have used a ton of Vanilla Beans... Not as much bourbon as I was expecting, but still enough to let you know its there.

At the end of the day, people (including myself) are trading some high caliber beer for FO... Is it worth the hype? No, but it is a really good beer. Vanilla Rye killer, as its been called? Absolutely not.

Overall, well done Bottle Logic.

Jul 19, 2015
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ineva from California

4.92/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

You know how people relate cars to women? Well this is like that women of your dreams in a glass after you poured it from that sexy bottle. That vanilla sent, thick body and lets not forget that soft sweet touch as it touches our tongue. . wow let me stop there before your whales start to pop pre-maturely.

Jul 03, 2015
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DCLAguy11 from California

4.79/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - label looks ultra whaley
Smell - whale juice
Taste - unicorn tears
Feel - like a whale swimming in deep waters
Overal - 100% whaleZ status

....Joking. Seriously, this beer is legit. It pours like a thin motor oil with not much of a head. The aroma on this is fabulous. I near gave it a 5 but I realize that Vanilla can work wonders, and in some ways is kinda cheating, but no joke, this beer smells wonderful. The taste is excellent. I had read all the hype and issues with the release and was expecting a beer that was overrated but this is legit. For me, I'm not into sweet beers but this has a nice balance between just enough sweetness and that barrel presence I like in BA beers. It's not over the top in any way except perhaps the vanilla but that's a good thing in this case. I kept going back for more but enjoyed just letting this beer linger. The mouth feel is solid. Nice carbonation. If it was any more viscous this beer would be close to perfect. Overall, I think FO deserves the hype. I've read and heard comparisons to BC Vanilla Rye but I thought it was different than VR in that VR had more of a marshmallow taste and this is straight up vanilla bean. Both excellent beers but if I had to choose I would go with FO.

Jul 10, 2015
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Kurmaraja from California

4.48/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Lives up to the hype. A cartoonishly large burst of vanilla jumps out of the glass, followed by caramel / toffee / panna cotta, marshmallow. I'd like a bit more oak, something to round out the dessert nose. The flavor is more balanced than I expected adding a good dose of milk chocolate, bourbon, hint of oak. Not cloyingly sweet or forcing the viscosity with residual sugars. Though VR continues to improve with age, this felt a bit more lithe and far more drinkable.

Aug 18, 2015
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timc100 from Illinois

4.84/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed next to Vanilla Rye

Pours an oily black, very similar to VR, however darker and oilier. Aroma exploded with raw vanilla bean, rich dark chocolate stout with a slight pleasant soy sauce flavor, marshmallow, burnt dark roast, and more vanilla of all kinds. Palate leads with tons of the vanilla and marshmallow sweetness to a great, deep stout-chocolate flavor and rich whiskey booziness. Chewy, viscous, thick mouthfeel, which carried all the flavors well. This reminded me of a more balanced and deeper Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord.

Incredible stout worth the acclaim.

Sep 10, 2015
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.47/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

Pours a dark black body, shades of brown, one finger brown head that dies down fairly quickly, leaving a thin collar. Not a whole lot more to say about the appearance; it's very typical for a big stout. Smell is vanilla, graham crackers, whiskey, oak, milk chocolate, more whiskey. It's very akin to Bourbon County Vanilla Rye, which is not surprising. Vanilla-forward aromas mixed in with whiskey. Flavour is vanilla bean, whiskey, oak, milk chocolate, a bit of roasted malt in the background. It's quite vanilla forward, but not cloying or sweet. Slight char. Mouthfeel is full bodied, substantial, slightly boozy but still quite restrained for a 14.3% stout. Reasonably drinkable, remains a bit of a sipper. Overall, this is pretty much Vanilla Rye. Thick chewy body with vanilla and whiskey all-around.

Aug 19, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black in color with a small foamy khaki head that disappears immediately, leaving nothing behind, hints of light leaking out around the edge

S- aroma is pure vanilla bean up front, fresh vanilla bean. Underlying brings spicy bourbon, along with wood, vanilla & coconut. Just a hint of alcohol warmth on the finish. It doesn’t get much better aroma for a vanilla stout

T- sweet vanilla up front opens, with a bourbon presence quickly kicking in with notes of spicy barrel, coconut & caramel. As it nears the finish, notes of raisin and prune kick in, with a linger of light vanilla 4.25

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that finishes with a bit of alcohol on the linger

O- aroma was spot on, flavor was almost as solid, but couldn’t quite bring out the vanilla as it was in the aroma. Still an outstanding beer

Mar 31, 2016
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4lo from Texas

4.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lots of vanilla and taste follows smell. Bit boozier than vanilla rye. Decent mouthfeel. Prefer vanilla rye or ba vanilla shake over it personally. Interested to see how it is after sitting a year or two

Jul 11, 2015
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ThickNStout from Georgia

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

500mL bottle from j47paco (many thanks for this fantastic treat!). 2015 vintage, released 6/30/15. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours pitch black with a finger and a quarter mocha head. Some scant surface clouds and a thin halo lingers but no lace can find purchase on the glass.

The aroma is incredible with an impressive amount of vanilla. Bourbon, oak, chocolate and caramel back up all the vanilla goodness. I can't keep my nose away.

Flavors are rich, decadent and delightful. The huge vanilla promised by the nose is delivered in spades along with white chocolate, bourbon, fudge, wet oak, caramel, molasses, creamed coffee and an easy going but undeniable nip of booze. Dangerously smooth and easy to drink for an imperial stout topping 14% abv. Truly amazing how well the vanilla beans and bourbon barrel aging reinforce the outstanding vanilla top notes and carry it throughout the experience.

Full, velvety feel with soft, smooth carbonation. The aftertaste is like bourbon fudge dripped over vanilla bean ice cream and the body is full enough to coat the tongue so it lingers for several minutes. Seriously the most incredible finish I've had.

As a huge fan of vanilla I can't help but fall in love with Fundamental Observation. Bottle Logic has done a superb job nailing the flavor and putting it in a near perfect package. Hands down the best vanilla stout I've had as well as one of the best all around beers. For me this is near magical and I can't recommend highly enough trying it if you can.

Sep 21, 2015
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halo3one from Georgia

4.17/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid vanilla but too boozy like Darkstar.

Jul 10, 2015
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MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

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

Another stupid good beer from BL! The taste was like liquid brownie batter that had been mixed with ground up vanilla and soak in bourbon. The chocolate and vanilla flavors were awesome and the bourbon was at a nice level and not hot at all. Smooth and delicious BA stout. If you get the chance, get some!

Sep 26, 2017
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mythaeus from Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Small pour (about 2-3oz), little to no head. Vanilla and bourbon in the nose meshed well together, with vanilla being more dominant. Taste reminded me of Vanilla Rye, vanilla, chocolate, fudge, the usual, but nowhere near the sweetness, which puts this on a perfect 5/5 in term of taste for me. For a BA vanilla stout, this has the right mouthfeel, not super viscous or runny.

This is definitely my favorite BA vanilla stout so far, above Vanilla Rye and 4 Hands Madagascar...and certainly way above BVDL.

Sep 22, 2015
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wulfie85 from California

4.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally landed a taste of this guy and it did not disappoint. Poured a thick, dark black with a ton of vanilla aroma. Mouth feel was on point as well and the vanilla was just overwhelming on the tongue. The only negative I can say about it is the vanilla was a little artificial tasting in my opinion. Otherwise excellent beer though. Marshmallows for days!

Mar 12, 2016
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Masonz223 from Michigan

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

Smell: Vanilla frosting, marshmallow fluff, fudge, a hint of dark fruit, smooth bourbon and oak

Taste: Big barrel, smooth bourbon, oak, marshmallow fluff, vanilla frosting, fudge, a smidge of dark fruit, milk chocolate, and carmel. Really reminiscent of a Carmelo candy bar in the finish.

Feel: Creamy, borderline over carbonated, Medium bodied. Slightly thin, but carbonation covers it up, as well as the creaminess. This doesn’t drink like 13.7% the booze is there, but it is really smooth and melds incredibly well with everything else.

Overall: This beer lives up to the hype all day. This is an absolutely stunning beer!

Note: Did this blind against Prarie Vanilla Noir and FO destroyed it. FO is one of the best beers out there.

Jun 20, 2018
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Lare453 from Florida

1.46/5  rDev -69.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Had this on draft at huna day 2016. Either something was wrong with the keg or this is not good. The people at the bottle logic booth said that was what it was supposed to be, but there were so many off flavors, I don't know where to start. Tasted like spoiled milk.

Mar 13, 2016
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mig100 from Texas

4.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours motor oil-esque, almost totally black. When held to the light, some slight red hue shines through at the surface. Almost no head retention, although massive legs stick to the glass.

S: Bittersweet vanilla beans, milk and dark chocolate, almonds, char and oak, the vanilla beans are so prominent and fragrant wafting from the glass.

T: A huge explosion of vanilla beans and milk chocolate. Pure liquid fudge brownies with chocolate chips and vanilla.

F: Smooth marshmallow and fudge finish that reveals more depth as it lingers, the linger never really fades away between sips. The alcohol is basically non-existent (at least at 14.1%) and the beer remains a pleasure on the palate over the course of the bottle, without a trace of fatigue, which is rare even for world class barrel aged imperial stouts.

Overall, FO lives up to a lot of the hype. At the same time, it also isn't quite as good as VR, but that's splitting hairs, since it's undeniably one of the best barrel aged imperial stouts out currently.

Dec 18, 2016
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

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

This is just an awesome beer. Black, brown head, a dot or two of lacing. Thick syrupy beer. Smells like it tastes and it tastes like a lightly smoked, bourbon soaked, s’more with almonds and crumbled brownies on it. It is amazing. Not going to bother giving and part of this beer less than a 5.

Jul 27, 2017
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whiskey from California

4.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had two 9 ounce pours today at Eureka in Huntington Beach.

So I'm glad I got a chance to try this beer on tap, I'm a huge Bourbon County fan but did not care for BCBVS or VR(but have like other vanilla beers) so I was afraid big, over the top vanilla beers weren't for me.

So the beer poured nice and black, almost no head. Carbonation was perfect, no swirling required for me. Mouth feel was medium thickness, not as viscous as Bourbon County but it was not lacking by any means.

Good bourbon and great vanilla. Doesn't seem overdone as some have said. Good stuff, I'll be sure to seek it out if it goes on tap again.

Jul 16, 2015
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ComradePalmer from California

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

Great beer all around. Looks great, very vanilla forward aroma and flavor. Has a slight warming, alcohol undercurrent that's pleasant. Full bodied and smooth. Some might say it's too vanilla heavy or sweet but I see it as being a perfectly balanced beer.

Aug 02, 2016
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HypeTrain from California

4.99/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn near as perfect as it gets. Thick inky jet black pour with a thin khaki head. Smell is a 5++++. Nice barrel character and TONS of vanilla. Taste is lots of vanilla and not in an artificial flavor. So smooth. No boozy bite. Its a beautiful thick viscous mouthfeel. Had this next to VR and as much as I love Vanilla Rye this came out ahead.

Jul 10, 2015
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.36/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Vanlingleipa. Thanks a pile for this one man! Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and I'm surprised it lasted 5 days in my possession before opening.

From a 50cl bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2015
Imperial stout blended with Madagascar vanilla beans and aged in bourbon barrels
Aged in 4 different barrels for 11 months

APPEARANCE: A clear black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, bubbly, dark tan head with decent retention. Black body with no real carbonation evident. Head fades to a bubbly half wisp with no lacing on the glass. A bubbly ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass as it empties. Good color but mediocre head.

SMELL: Lots of vanilla and bourbon for sure. Oak, toffee, sweet cream, milk chocolate and a good dose of vanilla beans, which come off quite natural as opposed to artificial. Notes of pure chocolate as it sits. Bold with plenty of bourbon and alcohol as well. Outstanding.

TASTE: Lots of vanilla beans up front again, with milk chocolate and bourbon flavors moving into the swallow. Oak and more vanilla show up, then a bold and lingering finish of milk chocolate, oak, bourbon, sweet cream, some bitter, pure chocolate all competing with the smooth vanilla beans that tie it all together. Flavorful and boozy, with lots of nice, natural vanilla character here. Really good.

PALATE: Medium body with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Light and somewhat prickly on the palate, goes down a bit prickly with a scratch at the swallow and finishes sticky. Some heat lingers. It mellows as it sits but it's still more prickly than hoped. A bit too much carbonation as well.

OVERALL: Great stuff. Really flavorful and forthcoming, with a more natural vanilla character than many others in this category, as some examples come across as artificial or extract based. The nose is outstanding as well, while the barrel aging works really well with the vanilla addition, adding lots of layers and nuances that are worth contemplating. The only knock on this one is that the feel is prickly and somewhat harsh, which detracts from the experience somewhat, but that's a minor issue that might even mellow with time. If this were a bit creamier and smoother, it'd be an epic brew. It's excellent as it is, and I was very happy to try this one out. Thanks again vanlingleipa. Very much enjoyed this one.

Feb 03, 2016
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blockdude from California

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very good, I enjoyed this a lot more than number crunch and batch 2 fo. Definitely more vanilla than the previous batch and very little alcohol heat. Bourbon is more subtle and on the back end compared to number crunch. This is not a good beer to drink cold, and I imagine more vanilla comes out after leaving it to open up for a few hours. Nice appearance and coats the glass with a thick layer of foam, although not the thickest of stouts out there, but neither is any of the bottle logic stouts. Didn't affect my feelings toward it, great beer overall.

Jul 16, 2017
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ESCO138 from California

4.99/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hints of Vanilla and Chocolate on the nose, expected some burn due to its 14.3% ABV but it went down extremely smooth, let it warm up a bit to room temperature and the flavors only got stronger. Don't know how they did it but Bottle Logic hit this one out the park.

Jul 03, 2015
Fundamental Observation from Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1470 ratings