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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes
BA SCORE
3.78/5
Very Good
49 Ratings
21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
karlstrauss.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
37
Ratings:
49
pDev:
13.49%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
4
Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by beagle75:
Photo of beagle75
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with an incomplete peripheral ring of loose parchment-tinted bubbles. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Fermented grain with some residual caramelized sugars present. Fruit is nuanced and difficult to tease apart from the relatively tame Belgian yeast that appears to be of Abbey origin. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with refined aromatic malt and assertive dark fruit that is more estery than vinous. The middle is supple and earthy, with oxidation evident in the form of an additional musty layer that does not seem out of place. Sweetness becomes elevated slightly during the second half of the flavor profile. Dark crystal malt, treacly and a bit roasted, is soft and wholesome in the finish where earth and lesser dark fruit are retained. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, soft and slightly syrupy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This high gravity ale exhibits a passing resemblance to quadrupel-style Belgian beers, while also integrating grapes effectively into the sensory profile. It demonstrates that a beer brewed with grapes is destined to taste less like wine in the final judgment than a beer aged in a wine barrel. While the characteristics imparted by the grapes are not unwelcome, they may lead one to question whether grapes make for the best adjunct; their taste and smell is rather generic. Still, this beer is inoffensive and easy to consume for its strength, with no sharp edges to fatigue the palate.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Dark and inviting with a trimmed lace that leaves some rings on the glass. Vinous nose shows some tartness, bready deep with in with lots of ripe fruit and some herbal phenols in the mix ... estery as well. Slightly crisp with a creamy slick full-ish body. Malt sweetness does well with the grape character tagging along, peppery alcohol and some phenols are there to balance and add some complexity. Warming with some brown sugar and ripe fruit in the back. Finishes a bit estery and sweet with that same lingering alcoholic warmth.

Super tasty, especially when it warms up a little. A little goat cheese and ripe figs on crostinis paired well with this beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddy pumpkin with a slight reddish glow when backlit with the rising sun outside my front window. Three full fingers of golden khaki colored foam were created on the pour and don't look to be in a hurry to depart. More lace than expected (in ragged rings) is a nice touch.

The nose is shockingly weak. Belgian yeast esters and Zinfandel grape juice are nowhere to be found. This big brew smells more like a brown ale than a BSDA or an American strong ale. Here's hoping warming improves things a little. Note: it doesn't.

Better on the palate, but not amazingly so. My relatively high hopes for this anniversary ale were because Big Barrel DIPA was such a pleasant surprise. We aren't talking bad beer here, but the depth and complexity that this style typically delivers has not been achieved.

On a positive note, the 10.4% ABV is hidden remarkably well and the beer should age relatively gracefully for at least another year. With respect to the flavor profile, think Imperial brown ale with slightly more fruitiness (fig jam) and a smattering of Belgian yeastiness. Still not getting the red grape vinousness that was promised.

Mouthfeel, along with appearance, is this offering's finest feature. It's medium-full without being heavy or sticky, and has beautifully buried bubbles that keep things inflated for as long as beer remains in mouth.

Karl Strauss 21st Anniversary Ale Brewed With Zinfandel Grape Juice did not meet my (perhaps unfairly high) expectations. It's still a worthwhile purchase, even now, but there's no need for the brewery to consider year-round or seasonal release for this particular recipe.

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany color with a finger of a head that sticks around and leaves some traces of lace

Smell: Graham cracker, vanilla, oak, dark fruit and, as you would expect, red zinfandel wine

Taste: Fruity, at the outset, with the dark fruit and zinfandel grape flavor making a statement; by mid-palate, the graham cracker, vanilla and oak flavors arrive, along with a slightly odd, grassy bitterness; after the swallow, the sweeter flavors predominate, with a rather wine-like finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this experimental brew, so much like a wine-influenced dubbel, though I would have preferred a little less sweetness overall; still, I really like some of the things Karl Strauss is doing now

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.68/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark and slightly hazy reddish-amber color. Big off-white head quickly turns to a heavy film and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Though not too strong, has a deep malty aroma with some sugars, fruits (plum & grape), and a hint of spice.

Taste: Some malts, a bit of sugar, and a good amount of yeast hits first. Then the yeast gives way to a bitter, spoiled/sour wine flavor. Some spices (cinnamon, etc.?) come out in the finish, and then the aftertate is sort of a mixture of everything, with a hint of alcohol added.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with barely any discernible carbonation. Relatively smooth.

Drinkability: The strong ABV is fairly well masked, but the taste doesn't help.

Seriously tastes like a blend of 2/3 Chimay Blue + 1/3 Zinfandel that's been left out in the sun for a few days. Hey Karl, I was really loving To The 9's, Full Suit, and a couple new ones on tap in Sorrento Valley... why this?! Talk about a killjoy - keep making beer-like beers, not these off-the-wall things (or at least put that new red ale in bottles!).

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Photo of mcallister
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear crimson color with a off white head foamy and good retention. Nice lacing as well.

Nose shows hints of wood, dark fruits, jammy fruits, with hints of a sweet floral ester.

Man what a great tasting beer. Coconut, oak, wood, blackberry jam, more wood, oak tannins, lavender, other floral flavors, earthy on the finish with a showing of alcohol in the chest. Very nice refreshing and oaky.

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Photo of ReDave
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very interesting!

Dark blackish with red and purple highlights.

Thin fizzy head that fades somewhat

poured in wine glasses

Interesting aromas, not super strong but some aroma there.

Great with ribs and BBQ brisket!

I'd get this again.

thanks to brother-in-law Steve! don't know if this was expensive or not..

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber courtesy of tjensen3618, thanks for this beauty! Pours a clear amber color with a thin, light tan foam. Not a whole lot of retention or lacing.

Nose is caramely malt with a smooth toffee and light toast aspect. A little bit of grape vines and weedy oak and vanilla come through.

Malt driven with an oaky and tannic flavor deep in the soul of the beer and is complimented by some nice vanilla cream coffee additions. Nutty, pecan encrusted creamsickle. Full bodied and rich. Only a mild grape wine flavor, but enough to make an appearance. Nice, I really dig this one...job super well done. Unbelievably easy to drink, especially considering the high ABV.

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Photo of rand
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22 oz bomber to tulip glass

A: Pours a dark ruby-red in color, clear, with a cavernous 1-inch head that recedes fairly quickly. Scant lacing remains after a gentle twirl, surprising for a frothy head.

S: Expecting vinous grape notes up front, the bouquet is surprisingly dominated by sweet bread, wood, and vanilla. Touches of candied and ripened fruit linger, as plenty of alcohol volatiles propel the bouquet.

T: Again, the woody, vanilla tones are noted first. These blend nicely the boozy, bready complexion. Given that wood and vanilla are fairly neutral flavors, plenty of depth and nuance can be perceived. The grapes are there, but just. Dates and figs as well. Cinnamon and orange zest play a part. The boozy character adds plenty of body and flavor, but I would have never guessed this was 10%. Finishes sweet but surprisingly clean.

M: Unexpectedly chewy. I was expecting something a little more diluted in body, given the added grapes (think Victoria or Victor by Allagash), but not here.

Probably the best beer I've had from Karl Strauss so far. Wow, they've really stepped up their game - after moving to San Diego and sampling some of their lesser offerings, I dismissed them for years. Looking forward to more surprises from this brewery.

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Photo of Photekut
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of ccrida
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my Delirium snifter, Karl Strauss's 21st Anniversary is auburn tinged ruby with a light tan head leaving lots of scattered chunks of foamy lace.

Smell is pretty big oaky coconut and very fruity. Not a lot of complexity, but awesome, and the wine comes out more and more.

Taste is absolutely delicious - from the first sip, it was a 'wow' beer. The main components are the coconut from the barrels and the fruity Belgian yeast. There a tart, vinous note, but it's not strongly wine like, just a hint of sweet maltiness. It's super smooth and very well integrated in spite of the ABV and fairly young age of only 9-10 months IIRC. Some complexity develops as it opens up, some sweet nuttiness, almost almond liquer like, a little more of the zin juice as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, a nice viscosity but not too heavy at all, just a touch stickier then your average Belgian, but with a dry, tannic edge.

Drinkability is very good, really awesome beer, even more so because my expectations were pretty low for some reason. Really wish I bought more then one of these when I got it in California last spring, oh well. Assuming I'll never see get to have another though, I can't give it a perfect 5.

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Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Holiday Wine Cellars

A: Pours a deep amber with a nice solid off white head. Wonderful retention and a nice smattering of lace all the way down the glass.

S: The grapes can be picked up in the aroma. They are more earthy red than white. The beer is sweet and yeasty. Lots of candy malt and spice as well.

T: The grapes are there in the flavor as well. The grapes add a bit of tartness to a wonderful sweet brew. Sweet bready malt, toffee, and caramel stand out. Subtle spices and Belgian yeast come through as well.

M: On the lighter side of medium, mosty sweet with a bit of dryness in the finish.

D: Did not dig this one when cold, as it wamed it opened up and became pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky amber, not much head, little ring left and some spotty lace.

S - A little malt, not much else for me. Boozy malt.

T - Malt wrapped in velvet grapes notes finished with some heat. Interesting.

M - Medium to full, good carb, very coating. Overall, kind of 'flat' experience on my palate. Not sure I really like the overall feel.

D - Would not be my choice for a session beer. Fun to try, though.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(22oz bottle). Pours a mahogany color with off-white head and decent lacing. Small carbonation bubbles. Smells wine-y with vanilla and raisins. Definitely getting the alcohol in there. Taste is sweet-almost port-like with some sourness. Hops are barely noticeable. Not quite full bodied, but almost. Thisis a slick, sticky beer with soft carbonation. Finish is quite long as far as wine/raisin/port flavors go. Alcohol is already warming the throat and chest.

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Photo of drewone
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of NickMunford
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hollingshead's,

A: Pours a dark red brown with a solid off-white.

S: Nose is quite light, with notes of sugar and zin grapes.

T: Big malt flavour/candi sugar, with a ton of raisin taste. Very lightly vinous, but I could tell the difference between this and a regular BSDA. Quite interesting.

M: Full-bodied, well balanced for having so much residual sugar, smooth.

D: This is quite a nice beer. Karl Strauss has certainly been impressing me lately.

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Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some ruddiness to it.

Smells like ... whoa, grape juice? With some malty maltiness.

Tastes like grapejuice mixed with some caramel-y, sweet, sugary malt along with some more sweetness and some more grapes and a tad bit of graininess.

Strange brew all around. Not awful, not great, kind of interesting. Pleased to get the chance to try it.

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Photo of armock
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a copper color with a thin white head and no lacing

S - Is of sweet malt and grapes

T - Just like the smell sweet malt with a grape finish

M - This beer has a fuller body with medium carbonation to it

D - Overall this is a decent beer and I was a little excited to try it from what the bottle said but was let down some their other bottles are better

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Photo of glid02
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Brodie - thanks!

Pours a clear dark amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts with hints of toastiness and solid amounts of white grape aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth dark malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of dark fruit flavors - plums and raisins. Midway through the sip some light white grape flavors make an appearance before fading out to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's a bit on the thin side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass with no problems and could have another.

Overall I thought the addition of white grape flavors was welcome in a beer like this, something I initially wasn't all that sure about. Worth a shot.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got a bottle of this because it looked interesting.

Pours a brownish red with a decent head that dissapated to a film. Nice lacing.

Aroma is strange. Kinda belgiany but with a wine aroma and some sort of spice I can't put my finger on.

Taste is ok. Very Belgian dubbel with a wine character. There is a sting metalic flavor though that I don't like. I may end up dumping half this bomber.

Mouthfeel is dry like a Belgian should be. Needs a little more carb for a Belgian though.

Overall an ok beer. No need to seek this out but it's not bad if you try it. It's different for sure. I don't know if I will be able to handle a whole bottle to myself though.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stumbled upon a bottle of this after sampling on tap a couple times. Poured into a large wine glass from a 22 oz. bomber. Shows a clear brownish red with rich crimson highlights on the pour and sports half an inch of soapy off white foam. Moderate retention settles to and maintains a light film and leaves some artsy lacing. Somewhat light in color but surely a unique approach.

Light oak footprint gives the nose a dry smoky sense and works fairly well with the vinous qualities to give the beer an intriguing nose. Belgian yeast notes are quite thin however, revealing themselves a bit with warming but always playing second fiddle to the oak and grape. A good swirl briefly yields some peaty hops.

Quite vinous in flavor initially as the zinfandel dominates but can't quite replicate the depth of the cherry flavors found in more traditional BSDA's. I think a bit more dark malt may have helped bridge the gap. Pleasant and clean nonetheless.

Feel is good though a bit thin for the style, yet this brew doesn't truly fit any style very well. Again the vinous qualities are quite distinct from the body one would expect from a more traditional malt profile. The rather robust ABV is well hidden without offering a cloying sweetness even given the light body. An interesting beer that opens nicely with some exposure, whereby the grape notes become more subtle and balanced and the yeast gets a chance to shine.

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Photo of mjl21
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. Comes in at 10.2%. No bottling info is given.

A-Nice looking beer. It has a nice reddish hue. It has a one finger tan head that has good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S-It has a very interesting aroma. I was expecting more yeast and malt aromas. It is dominated by lot of vanilla at the start. Red grape/dark stone fruit also come into play.

T-An unusual beer. Mix of vanilla, yeast, stone fruits, and some booze. It was aged on oak for a month and this really results in a strong vanilla taste. I was expecting a stronger flavor from the Zin grapes.

M-Nice creamy mouthfeel. Comfortable carbonation.

D-The vanilla gets to be too much for me. 10 oz would be plenty.

The oak was a bit too much for me. I think if this beer were spiked with some brett it would be really good.

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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 49 ratings