22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

BA SCORE
85
very good
102 Ratings
22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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
Ratings:
102
Reviews:
63
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
12.17%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
26
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 63
Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: keeps a foam for several minutes, it also pours a light chocolate color.

S: It has a sweet vanilla, graham cracker, and chocolate

T: It has a sweet chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, and graham cracker

M: A good mouthfeel, with a nice carbonation

O: Overall, it has a very nice aroma and taste. It is very easy drinking, it is something I could drink one after another. It has a light oak, but not a lot of bourbon at all.

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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 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 Armand
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this couple times. The first it was bland and flat. Not too much going on. It is Karl, so I can expect something like this from them. I think the best thing since their Oatmeal Stout.
A: Dark brown with red light that shines through.
S: Small, very little hint of vanillal
T: Kind sweet, with a little dampness to it
M: Not too much. Very light-medim bodied.
O: The first time I've had this it wasn't mature yet. Few months lagter it had some boldness too it. Not much, but again...cheers.

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

First review! Poured from bomber into snifter.

Pours a deep brown that is almost black. A one finger head gives way (rather quickly) to almost no lacing. Smell is a combination of licorice, vanilla from the oak barrels and slight chocolate with just a hint of bourbon in there as well. Taste is a bit sweeter than normal, with a nice touch of vanilla that kind of rounds everything out. The taste sticks around for a bit, but not as long as I'd like.

Overall a pretty tasty Imperial Stout. I'll definitely be buying another bottle of this to age for a few years. It's nice to see Karl Strauss starting to take risks, even though not all of them may be risks worth taking (i.e. Flan-Diddly-Anders)

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

Karl Strauss sticks out in my mind as a consistent "B" level beer, so it's interesting to mee to see them go for broke on an imperial stout. But hey, sometimes you have to swing for the fences to hit a triple.

Pours a root beer barrel brown with quite a bit of bubble-ation, watery lacing. The smell is syrupy with a hint of zinc and metallic notes. Malt's abound!

This brew is SWEET with malt smoothness mixed with notes of oak and vanilla bean. The aftertaste lingers with maple syrup, but the flavor isn't overwhelming rich. The carbonation cuts the malt as to not make this draining and heavy.

Overall a worthy effort, not on part with some more accomplished imperial stouts, but sure is tasty.

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Photo of ghetto90007
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a nice, bulbous snifter.

Pours dark brown/black, nearly opaque. Fluffy light tan head about two fingers or so thick. Looks carbonated well.

Smells of roasted malt, cocoa, sweet vanilla, some fruitiness (slight), along with slight spiciness and hint of herbs.

Luscious flavor. Vanilla ice cream, coffee notes, mild hop bitterness. Just delicious. Warming alcohol.

Phenomenally smooth and gentle mouthfeel. Soft for the carbonation level.

An enjoyable offering - wish I had another bottle or two of this one and would definitely pick up again if they decided to make another batch.

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

A - First of all, a little overboard on the wax. Took me some time to get it off. Pitch black, thin tan head, lots of lace at the edges and cascading bubbles. Looks inviting.

S - Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, vanilla. Food. Nice.

T - Pretty close to the mark on smell. Bitters at end nicely. Alcohol somewhat noticeable.

M - Medium to heavy body, med good carb, nice balance for something that could potentially be so sweet.

D - Big flavors and big ABV. Not a session beer.

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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 Siggy125
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little surprised at the appearance. Slightly mirky coffee color. Not the color I expected

The nose came thru like a porter with sturdy vanilla presence. A little sourness. My first impression was a little disappointing.

Very nice sweet vanilla on the front end followed by caramel malt, then fades to a weak instant coffee tartness.

Not a bad beer, but nothing like what I was preparing for. Decent drinker but a bit thin for a stout. It's called an Imperial Stout, but lacking for me to fit that style.

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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 Dlish
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hey they need take down the wax on this bottle. Or come on give something to open this. I sat with a steak knife for about 5 minute figuring out how to open this.

A- pours black, light tan head, with little lacing.

S- Sweet malts, bit of cherry, toffee, Good amount of oak. There is a little bit of vanilla.

M- Mocha tasting, tastes pretty simular to the smell. Lots of oak and hints of vanilla at the end. Not bad, I like it, not as strong as a imperial stout but still packs the whole flavor.

M- Deff like the mouth feel, lighter than an imperial and it allows the flavor to expand more without being dragged down by the heavy chocolate malts.

O- I don't drink a lot of Karl Strauss, in fact I often never buy it. My image of them have always been.. well boring nothing experimental. This has deff change my opinion, I'll buying more if I get a chance.

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Photo of gregshead
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tasted on 3/24/11. Review from notes:

A: pours black w/ a nice finger of light tan colored head.

S: I smell oak dancing with some extra vanilla. Some light bourbon with good roasted grains peeps in their as well.

T: Lots of smooth/sweet vanilla up front. Some oak taste. Trails with roasted grain.

M: Light carbonation. Lighter feel for an imp stout. not that much ligher just a tad.

O: Very good but not quite the outstanding. A little on the light side for a partially -bal aged stout.

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Photo of psiweaver
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

grabbed this on my recent trip down to San Diego. Normally i'm not a Karl Strauss guy but I liked their san diego holiday beer series so i figured i'd give this a try.

Poured into my Duvel Tulip

A: it pours a deep black with a small dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S: lots of chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak with a bunch of sweetness. A rich complex smell that gets better as the beer warms up.

T: I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. it has a lot of chocolate and vanilla and is very sweet but it doesn't have much of the roasty bitterness that I would normally associate with this size of beer. I really enjoyed it.

M: kind of a thin mouthfeel but a nice beer to go with dessert that's smooth easy to drink and flavorful.

I really enjoyed this beer and found it to be very good overall. I am actively searching out more as I'm interested to see what it does with a bit of age on it.

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

Pint Glass: Pours a dark reddish brown with 1inch head.

S: Subtle coffee and vanilla scent. I get a nice cotton candy smell, reminds me of being at a carnival.

T: Smooth coffee bitterness with notes of vanilla.

M: Light carbonation, not very thick.

A nice change from all the other type of stouts (chocolate, coconut, oatmeal etc...)

Drink up! This is worth a taste, definitely!

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Photo of liamt07
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Steve, shared with Sammy and Steve. 22oz into a tulip.

Pours black with a beige head, dark mahogany highlights in the body. Thin layer of retention, some bubbles form the collar. Nose is full of vanilla, milk chocolate and coconut. Sweet yet not overwhelmingly so. Taste has oak, vanilla, dark fruits, coconut, roasted notes and more lingering oak in the finish. An 'imperial sweet stout' I'd call it. Mouthfeel is pretty full and sweet in the finish. A nice stout overall. Thanks again Steve.

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

A smooth drinking beer with good mouthfeel. Coconut and vanilla, the latter strong in the finish. Good looks, black with white bubbly head and inviting aromas of vanilla and roasted chocolate malt.
Stephen Rich brought this back from the Brewers' conference.

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Photo of ChanChan
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a palm sized snifter.
Appearance: Ruby red looks a lot like a Dr. Pepper nice one inch head disappears quite fast. Lacing is modest.

Aroma: Lots of coffee notes, roasty and malty there is only a faint hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium bodied.

Taste: A coffee boozy feel to it. Drinkability: This stout is quite bitter but I like that. The alcohol is present but at 9.0 ABV this beer is not overly heavy.

Overall: The vanilla does not present itself well. This beer is a vanilla imperial stout and I expected to get a bit more vanilla. Nothing special but this beer falls at around six dollars for a 22OZ bomber, that and the decent taste make this a worthy stout!! Waxed dipped bottles are well over 10 dollars but it's the stuff inside that counts and I have faith that this beer could taste like a 12$ bottle in two to three years and since its not so special now I'm more than willing to age my second bottle!!

Update: 9/13/2012

I was right, this beer is now an awesome brew!!! The vanilla is still present and it has smoothed out very nicely!!

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Photo of trappistlover
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(22oz bottle shared at Dak's final four tasting). Pours a cola color with khaki head. Aroma has plenty of spice, vanilla, caramel, and some booze. Taste is sweet with lots of vanilla. Medium bodied with an oily texture. This is a pretty good beer that is big on vanilla.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with ruby highlights; the head builds to an inch or so and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Roasty chocolate, but somewhat sweet, with a discernible woody vanilla presence

Taste: Sweetened chocolate, up front, with a vanilla/cherry flavor that develops by mid-palate; though there is enough hop bitterness to balance out the sweeter elements after the swallow, this is a rather sweet beer overall, with just a hint of Bourbon in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rather enjoyable, though it pales in power next to many other examples of the Imperial Stout style; it almost tastes like the beer equivalent of a Cherry Ripe (if any of you have tasted this Australian candy bar)

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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 ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a tight, mocha head that leaves a solid ring of lacing.

Smells of big vanilla and chocolate notes.

Tastes of a big dose of vanilla followed by more standard stout characteristics. Vanilla is definitely the focus with a gigantic wave of it right up front. Some brown sugar sweetness, chocolate and light coffee notes back it up. Has a bit of an adult milk chocolate feel to it. Not much bitterness to speak of, but sweetness is pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium-fulll with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, nothing groundbreaking, but if you want to try a good vanilla aged stout, this is worth a shot.

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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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