Intending to make the delicious looking cupcakes on the Karl Strauss blog, I bought a bottle of Karl Strauss 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout. It wasn’t until I was writing up my grocery list that I remembered that I freaking hate baking, so I just drank the beer instead. Getting into this bottle was a bit of a challenge; the cap and neck were dipped in about an eighth of an inch of wax. That doesn’t sound like much, but once I took my knife to it the wax might as well have been a foot thick. I overcame and got a strip of the wax off big enough that I could get in there with a bottle opener, and voila! Access to the beer! It poured a really deep brown with a creamy hued head. The label says that this beer is 75% stout and 25% stout aged in oak with vanilla beans added. Given that, the aroma wasn’t as bold as I was expecting. The roasted aroma was there, and I could pick up a bit of the oak and bourbon from the barrel aging. Though it came in at the end on sniffing, the bourbon flavor was very apparent in the first sip of the beer. I think the 9% ABV also added to it tasting like I just took a sip out of a snifter. The bourbon taste mellowed pretty quickly and the vanilla showed up with the really nice roasted taste of you expect from stout. The oak was always present in the background and hung out the longest in the aftertaste. Although the cupcakes sounded like they would have been quite tasty, I’m glad I sat down with this beer. It would be a great accompaniment to a rainy night movie fest. Also, if anyone happens to make the cupcakes and want to share, I wouldn’t say no.