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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
63 Reviews
22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 02-03-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
63
Ratings:
102
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
12.17%
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
26
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 102
Photo of imagese
2.48/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap @ The Factory

A- cola colored with a slight head that faded fast and left spotty lacing

S- sweet chocolate, vanilla, faint coffee, and I slight bourbon sweetness. Overall, very sweet

T- a whole lot of sweetness. Can't pull much out. Reminds me of vanilla flavored liquor.

M- thin with low carbonation. Makes me feel like I'm drinking something other than beer, let alone an Imperial Stout

D- got thru the 1/2 pint poured into the glass made for the beer easily. Not much alcohol kick, but not much else either. Verging on too much fake sweetness

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A cool little extra tossed in by Callmecoon.

Poured into a Mikkeller wine glass (I hope I don't break this spindly little stem! [Thanks for the sick glass Beeruser!]).

75% stout, 25% stout aged in oak barrels with vanilla beans added. The side of the label does mention that these barrels are indeed bourbon barrels. You'd think they would want to blare the word Bourbon right across the front of the label.

Appearance
The pour has me a bit iffy right off the bat. This stuff is thin and light. Very light for an Imperial Stout. The stream pouring from the bottle wasn't even as dark as root beer, its well into cream soda territory. It collects in the glass alright, and these thinner stouts are always the ones to sport large heads and throw pretty trails of lace. This is no exception to my stereotype.

Aroma
The smell takes me to Cleveland. Specifically the couple blocks surrounding Great Lakes Brewing Co. That area always smells like wet, steeped grains with an even toasting to them. Personally I think its kinda stinky. This beer has the same smell of Great Lakes Brewing, perhaps on a day that they are brewing a batch of Blackout Stout that adds a little bit of extra roastiness to the air. Delving deeper into a hearty swirl (which this new glass is perfect for, Zack) I start to pull out nips of vanilla and oak. If you've been to GLBC this section of my review will be much more meaningful. If you haven't been to GLBC chances are you aren't reading my review any way, so all's well.

Taste
That steeped grain element is brought out in the flavor but much less so than the aroma, which is almost dominated by it. The taste is pretty sweet, but one should expect thing going into a beer called Vanilla Imperial Stout and one talking about bourbon and oak. Milk chocolate flavors teams up with the vanilla to create a sort of Starbucks overly sweet cocoa-mocha-vanilla-cappuccino-double-tall-iced-frappe-drink flavor. Roastiness is all but buried, it only peeks out just before the finish at about the same time the base stout's inherent dark fruitiness tries to have a go at your taste buds. The finish leaves you with a sturdy, raw and powerful flavor of oak. Bourbon is very minimal, its mostly all oak.

Mouthfeel
Appropriately low carbonation but the body isn't impressing me much. It finishes dry. Where's the thick creaminess I was hoping for? There is some stickiness, which I'm not surprised by given the sweetness of this stout.

Overall
Its plenty drinkable but not impressive. After drinking this and RR Salvation tonight I feel that its imperative that I check my blood sugar.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.86/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

Dark brown with ruby highlights. Looks pretty thin as it's poured. Head retention and lacing are nice though.

Smells of tootsie rolls, vanilla, and brown sugar. Perhaps some fruity esters. Damn this beer is sweet smelling.

Taste follows smell only less sweet. Tootsie rolls, vanilla, brown sugar, with some oaky tannins that help balance things out. Slightly smokey finish. Definitely better than the smell, but not good.

Super thin. Well carbonated. Is this root beer?

Yikes. Poor showing Mr. Strauss.

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Photo of camil1mj
2.87/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a a trade with Thome.

Poured at room temperature into a pint glass.

A: Just like Coca Cola. Deep brown with some transparency. Lots of fizzy head.

S: Bourbon, vanilla and chocolate malts.

T: This is one if the worst examples I have had of a barrel aged stout. The carbonation interferes with the taste. Once you get past that it tastes like cream soda mixed with Russian Imperial Stout.

M: Over carbonated, fizzy and way to thin for the style.

O: I was excited to get this as an extra, but it can't hold a candle to most other stouts I have had.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a short off white head.

Lightly assertive sweet chocolate, plummy nose. No vanilla to speak of, certainly no more than most barrel aged brews.

Medium full mouth and body with nice balance.

Flavors are all simple medium to full bitter coffee and espresso. Pleasant flavors although it really tastes like cold, carbonated espresso with little more.

Finish is medium full bitter coffee.

Not bad; just nothing special. Vanilla character noticeably absent.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Looks good. Black body with a pretty good sized mocha colored head and good retention.

S: Strange smell. Earthy and warm smelling. I don't think I've ever smelled anything like this one.

T: I don't know about this one. It has some coffee going on, but other than that, it tastes exactly like flat vanilla coke. If the mouthfeel was thicker or the carbonation was higher, this could work, but as is, not so great. Maybe with some aging it would be better.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened by banning. Served in a Jackie O's snifter.

Pours near black with a thin off white head and a thin collars afterward. Not entirely opaque, which immediately indicates that it is not going to be as viscous as it should be. The nose brings vanilla plus a bit of light chocolate. There is a very slight roast presence. Flavor is pretty one dimensional. There is a strong amount of vanilla and not really much else. Light chocolate and roast in the background, but it could really use some hops or more oak, or potentially some more roast. Now, it's just too sweet and has lots of vanilla with nothing backing it up. Medium body that could be more viscous. Okay, but a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look - jet black with a white head

Smell - vanilla with really nothing else

Taste - some chocolate and tons of vanilla beans. Light finish of vanilla. Too much carbonation for my liking.

Overall - good beer not a great imperial stout, no hint of alcohol at all. I still think the 21st is my favorite from Karl

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Photo of Cavery
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with Klym, a night cap to a solid Friday Night; 750 ml into Oversized Wine Glasses.

A: the amount of light that gets through makes me question it's "stoutyness". If I was to take a glance at the glass, I would immediately cry porter. Even then, I would say light porter. I remember being able to look from under my glass into the base of the head. a finger to 1/2 finger head featured lighter bubbles than would be expected. So far nothing alarming, but not exciting either.

S: Strong vanilla in the nose. Really quite a dominating vanilla. It sits above every other smell like a cruel overlord. Any other smells that come up are quickly whipped down by the emotionless vanilla. Bourbon tries to escape its vanilla master, but to no avail.

T: Vanilla with some oaked woodiness. Mellow and vanilla makes for a whip cream/creamy top on a sundae. However, you keep expecting your spoon to break through something other than the cream. It honestly never seems to, and you get repeat spoonfuls of vanilla infused whip cream.

M: Yeah, the theme continues. A very average mouth with some pg-13 carbonation. Nothing really exciting here, it just is.

O: All things considered, the vanilla did a lot to save this beer from being lost in mediocrity. All the flavor seemed to be juxtaposed rather than integrated. First cream then vanilla. This beer wasn't bad, but it suffered from the fear of being great. This brew was rot with anxiety. Come out of your shell Strauss, and you might say something surprising. Next time take some risks, and I'll make a nicer review.

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Photo of MrTopher
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip glass served from a waxed 22oz bottle.

A: Was expecting something a little darker when pouring this beer. Its quiet light in the spectrum when it comes to an Imperial Stout. Zero to no head also, just a little dark foam on the top.

S: A little coffee and a little vanilla, and a little roast, that is about it. Again was expecting a lot more from this beer.

T: The taste is the best reviewed part of this beer, but not great by any means. There is some coffee but more so chocolate, some sweet, and some vanilla, also oak is mixed into the flavor, but its light.

M: Thin, this is quiet a let down, I was expecting something a little thicker with the % and being partially barrel aged.

O: I think KS needs to go back to the drawing board on this one, I'm happy I didn't spend a lot on this beer because it wasn't very enjoyable.

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Photo of MCorrea
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- As expected for a big stout, this pours dark dark black. Surprisingly, the head is nearly white, not tan or brown like you see in most other imperial stouts. The head consists of large fizzy bubbles and is not really all that dense.

S- Typical roasty type smells for a stout, with the addition of vanilla. Smells OK, but nothing too great.

T- Well, it taste is probably the best part of this beer. It is nice and sweet and the vanilla definitely shines though. Not much bitterness at all. A nice balance of flavors throughout.

M- This is my least favorite aspect to this beer. Mouthfeel is thin, especially for an imperial stout. The carbonation feels fizzy and thin in the mouth. As Mr. Horse used to say: "hmmmm... No sir, I didn't like it."

O- A decent stout, especially if you appreciate vanilla flavors in your beer. It seems that although this beer has middling smell, appearance, and feel, the flavor profile is quite nice and nice sweet sipper that leans heavily on the vanilla.

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Photo of Klym
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversize wine glass. Night cap in tonight's session with Cavery.

A: Surprisingly brown in appearance-- light brown on the edges and progressively dark toward the middle, which is a very dark brown/black ball. The head also seemed to be off-color, being surprisingly white in appearance. The color of the head was, strangely, the color of cheddar cheese melted with sauteed onions.

S: The description is right, oak and vanilla in the nose with a little dark fruit and spice hovering in the background. Smells a little low quality though compared to other brews I've had with the same ingredients/process.

T: Taste again is on the description-money, heavily vanilla with oak aging. The quality of both flavors seems to be a little low quality; like the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla beans. Another problem with the taste is that the vanilla and bourbon dominate, and the underlying stout is hard to find.

M: Mouthfeel is alright, though I would say it is a little overcarbonated and could use more thickness.

O: I would say to age this one but I'm not sure what benefit it would have. I think that this is a good stepping stone beer if you're introducing someone to microbrew stouts. Tasting the 'barrel age' or 'vanilla' in this would probably familiarize someone with the general flavor/sense of both, and also give them a foundation for appreciating the superiority of better barrel aged/vanilla infused beers. Otherwise, worth picking up if you're curious but not if you're looking to be impressed.

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Photo of DrinkThemAll
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass...

A-Poured a very deep ruby or cola like color and had a massive frothy 3 finger cream head that dissipates to half a finger with nice lacing...

S-Smells like chocolate milk and sweet vanilla, slight espresso and very sweet malts. Maple syrup as well...

T-Sweet malty vanilla with syrup and milk chocolate, very sweet beer but very subtle on taste. Has a slight oaky or bourbon finish...Nothing pops out at all on these flavors at all but it is smooth and balanced...

M-Light body and high carbonation, very artificial vanilla flavors here and quite foamy...some chocolate and oak. didn't like this mouth one bit...

O-Nothing special here, just a decent dessert like beer thats ok.
Wasn't expecting to much from Karl strauss on this stout...It wasn't
horrible by any means, I mean I enjoyed drinking this but it was just lacking a lot from what it said it was going to be and for its style .

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Photo of xnicknj
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into tulip - thanks pat

Pours a viscous, opaque blacked out color with a layering of tanned head. Slowly fades into a coating of filmy retention with some spotty lacing left behind on the glass.

A nice marriage of chocolate and vanilla in the nose, followed by undertones of oak, bourbon and warmth. Roasted malts, leather and sweetness with cocoa.

Plenty of vanilla right up front, matched with dark chocolate and cocoa. Sweet, but not cloying, riding a wave of roasted malts with a hint of roasted coffee beans. Continuing layers of dark malt with vanilla, oak and soft bourbon notes. Finishes a bit sweet and warm.

Fuller body, slightly lower carbonation, creamy and slick on the tongue. Drinks pretty nice considering the age, and the 25% barrel aged portion of the blend adds a decent depth of flavor.

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Photo of ratedz
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle from MrTopher. Thanks Chris!

Karl Strauss evidently LOVES dipping bottles in wax. They love it so much that they put about 5 coatings on. It literally took me 10-15 minutes to get through the wax to the cap.

A - Dark brown, with a slightly red tint when held up to light. Looks fairly thin for an imperial stout. About a finger of light tan colored head that fades relatively quickly.

S - Sweet malts, some dark cherries, a little oakiness, and a small hint of vanilla. For a beer named Vanilla Imperial Stout, I was expecting more vanilla in the nose. A bit of a disappointment, but still smells good.

T - Starts off with a hint of vanilla and dark malts before some dark fruits take over. Some oak comes into play before a little more sweet vanilla reappears for the finish.

M - As noted in the appearance, the mouth feel is rather thin. Carbonation is slightly below average, which is ideal for an imperial stout.

O - Overall, an enjoyable stout at a reasonable price. I wish it was a little thicker and had a little more vanilla to it. When I first heard about it, I was very interested in it because I enjoy a good stout brewed with vanilla beans, but the lack of a solid vanilla flavor caused this one to fall short of expectations.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a very dark brown just about black in color with maroonish highlights and had a tight half finger of brown head, good retention leaving a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: noticeable coffee upfront with some roastiness, oat grains, hints of chocolate and faint vanilla. the bourbon to me was pretty muted but thought it had very little cherry notes to it.

T: the roastiness, mild bourbon, and vanilla were more apparent on the taste alongside some oat grains but had slight hop character. it did have chocolate accents and a touch booze.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bourbon, mild hoppy, and silky finish.

D: it was just a decent imperial stout that was pretty good all around and to me would have liked more bourbon character; oh well.

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Photo of SirRuss
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black body fading into a red/brown hue, with a moderate-thin chocolatey head. Mediocre retention is outdone by the relatively robust lacing.

S - Soft breezes of vanilla and coffee - simple and mild.

T - Roasted malts feature distinct espresso and cocoa nib notes, while the caramel and vanilla expressions form a fitting backdrop. The Hops povide a sharp cleansing spine, and faint wisps of cinnamon and spice work well with the sweetness of the bourbon and contrasting charred expressions of oak. Despite a good level of complexity, the flavors are somewhat disenfranchised, and a disappointing void of wateriness prematurely interrupts each aspect of the profile before it can fully flourish.

M - The perceived dilution on the palate translates in the mouthfeel to a thinness that is unexpected for an IS, and the carbonation is reasonable, if not a little on the high side. On the finish the malts manage to produce a mildly cloying residue, and an alcohol burn reminiscent of the previous tenant of this brew's barrels is no shrinking violet.

O - Definitely worth a try, and fairly priced. Good complexity, poor integration, and a little wobbly in its overall balance. I would like to think that the 22nd anniversary vIS might drastically benefit from being cellared until KS' 23rd anniversary, but I think that's probably being a little optimistic. Happy Birthday all the same.

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

Tulip glass.

So... this beer is hard to open. Too much wax. It's like that old Bear Bryant saying about endzone celebrations, "Act like you've been there before."

A: Pours dark copper brown/black with two fingers of whispy cream colored head. Some lacing and good retention.

S: Vanilla and cream layered over roasted malt, some oak and spice, but also cheap bourbon. Smells slightly oxidized. Plum and dark chocolate as it warms.

T: Creamy vanilla ice cream and some alcohol, dose of espresso, finishing slightly bitter. On the boozy side.

M: Medium carbonation and medium-full body. Not particularly smooth.

O: This is a pretty good effort, and definitely a step in the right direction for Karl Strauss. There are some nice elements here and some not so nice. Lots of flavors but not that well integrated.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked a bomber of this one up while on vacation in San Diego a month or so back. Poured a dark reddish brown color with a small light brown head. Aromas of vanilla, milk chocolate, coffee and a little roasted malt. On the palate this one was medium bodied with flavors of vanilla, mocha and roasted malt.

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Photo of draheim
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a pretty thin cola brown w/ a fizzy mocha head that settles to a thin film.

Aroma is very faint - and this beer is not cold. Subtle hints of vanilla and bourbon, but even that is almost a guess. Let it warm & give it a swirl - a nice earthiness emerges, but overall aroma is still less powerful than expected or desired.

Taste is roasty and sweet - again though, both bourbon and vanilla are weak. Some cocoa too.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light. A little thin.

Overall, everything is there - just less of it than I was expecting or hoping for. Almost feel like this was watered down.

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Photo of Treebs
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 written in Sharpie on the bottle, thanks to danielnovak3 for sharing this guy. Served in a Founders snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown with darkened ruby edges. Small tan head. Looks very light and thin for an Imperial stout.

S: Nice oak and some subtle bourbon with nice chocolate and vanilla.

T: More oak and sweet vanilla. Caramelized sugars and some chocolate.

M: Very thin. Drinks almost like a brown ale. It is drinkable though, but I want my imperial stouts on the thicker side.

O: Definitely super thin for an imperial stout so it got docked some points, but it was pretty tasty overall.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours dark brown with a two finger tan head on a fairly passive pour. Head retention is decent at best, but there is a good amount of lacing to be had here...

S - Pretty mild. Don't pick up any alcohol at all. What I do get is chocolate, roasted malts, and a hint of vanilla...

T - Not as much vanilla as I was expecting. There is definitely a vanilla presence, but it is not the focal point here. Starts with hints of vanilla chocolate, and coffee. Ends on a slight smokey note with some hop presence in the after taste. Was hoping for a more pronounced vanilla taste...

M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount carbonation. A little light for a Double/Impy Stout...

D - Decent price for a decent brew. Glad I tried this one, but not something that was overly impressive. Would definitely drink one if it was offered to me, but wouldn't go out of my way to pick another one up...

Cheers...

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a full 3 finger tan head, good retention leaving impressive lacing.

S: Not really getting vanilla, there's a hint of it, mostly a smell of cocoa powder with hint of dark fruit (fig).

T: There is an attractive vanilla undercurrent throughout the beer which I really liked and I thought should more of a focal point. Good dark chocolate flavours, cocoa and carob, tasty but nothing to go crazy for.

M: Medium to full-bodied, very smooth, creamy, soft carbonation and elegant.

D: I love vanilla and I wanted to be wowed ala Creme Brulee Stout. I got a solid, quaffable big stout, but nothing out of the ordinary. Try it on tap though, it's worth a buy.

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Photo of bs870621345
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Big thanks to DankTheTank for this in a recent trade.

Pours a ruby amber color with almost no head and no lacing.

Smells of vanilla, oak, booze, and a tiny bit of caramel and burnt sugar bitterness.

Taste is heavy on the vanilla with chocolate holding it up, oak, and heavy on the booze aftertaste. Almost tastes of a hint of licorice in there too.

Mouthfeel is moderate with a lot of carbonation.

Overall, its a good beer. I'd like to age another to see what happens- definitely needs some age.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle thanks to JRSD. This one was allowed to warm for a little bit before being poured into my Bruery tulip.

Karl Strauss's 22nd Anniversary Stout pours not quite entirely black, there's a pinprick of ruby highlight coming through at the bottom of the glass. There's just over three fingers of caramel foam serving as a crown to the beer. Head retention is jut alright, and lacing is very spotty. The nose is heavy on vanilla-sweetened chocolate. Bourbon is barely there, but toasted oak is much more prominent. The flavor follows along a similar path. Sweet milk chocolate leads things off, and there's just a touch of bourbon where I'd normally expect it to come in big, and instead there's a fairly sizable toasted oak finish. It's something that I don't find in a ton of barrel aged beers, but I dig it in this one. The body isn't near full or rich enough for an imperial stout. The carbonation is perfectly leveled for the body though, it's present without ever coming to the foreground. This is my first Karl Strauss brew, and it's a pretty solid one. Coming on the heels of drinking Black Tuesday last night though, its shortcomings are especially apparent.

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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.
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