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Judge's Review: 97 Rating - Vanilla Chai Bourbon Stout by pFriem Family Brewers

June, 2021
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
40 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
20 / 20

Vanilla Chai Bourbon Stout by pFriem Family Brewers was judged as 34 E Experimental beer with base style 33b Specialty wood aged beer, per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines.

This is an evening-sipping-by-the-fire, cherishing-with-a-friend type of beer. This deep dense brown beauty’s heft slowly grows on you. The initial whiff suggests an elegant spicy chocolaty muffin with a light sprinkle of alcohol. The beer stands out for its balance and layered complex flavors that get bigger as you drink while maintaining their balance. Dark chocolate leads gently seasoned with ginger, hints of cinnamon and spice and a dash of bourbon with a suspicion of vanilla. A light touch of oak, hop bitterness and roast balance the malty sweetness that leaves a light stickiness on the lips. The alcohol is remarkably smooth and not hot or harsh. The alcohol warmth and light astringency from the oak slowly grow as you drink. While nothing jumps out, all the elements work well together resulting in an extraordinary, top-shelf beer. Buy several -- it should improve nicely with age.