This next stout was another one of my Christmas gifts that I was eager to properly unwrap. Also gave me the opportunity to test out a new bottle opener.
Beer Name: Vanilla Bean Stout
Brewer: Avery Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Stout
Description: Described on the brewery’s social media as an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels with three types of vanilla beans. Added in for good measure were essences of chocolate, caramel, and molasses.
Pour Info: Poured from a refrigerated bomber into what apparently became my official glass of 2015. We’ll have to see what 2016 brings.
Appearance: Body was a very deep brown/black with a thin off-white head that dissipated not long after the initial pour.
Smell: The smell was slightly sweet, but mostly carried by medium roast vanilla coffee.
Taste: Largely follows the smell. At the start it was dominated by a subtle yet distinct vanilla flavor with some nice accompaniments; namely sweet malts, roasted coffee, and a hint of bourbon. It drinks dangerously smooth and offers pretty much no hint that the beer is almost 11%. As it was left to sit and warm up, the beer took on a more distinctly sweet vanilla character, with coffee bitterness and a slightly more pronounced bourbon presence rounding out the finish.
Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was smooth and on the thicker side. Not as heavy and thick as I think it could have been, but pretty on point. Trace carbonation was also right one for the style and tastes.
Hype Factor: I had heard some buzz surrounding this release so I was happy to get a chance to try this.
Overall: A well made and satisfying beer. There was a lot to like about this one and it certainly delivers on promise of vanilla. That said, your enjoyment of it will really come down to how into the primary flavor you are. If you’re someone that loves vanilla stouts, seek this one out immediately. If you’re on the fence about it, I would still say this beer is still worth trying, though you may want to split the bomber with a friend. For the vanilla adverse crowd, this may not be for you as it does get a bit intense after sitting for a bit. Cheers and stay warm out there!