After reviewing the Vanilla Bean Stout by Avery I had a high level of expectation. Avery is not a mom-and-pops operation yet they have still retained the craft brew taste and aroma. This beer is a Belgian Quad aged in bourbon barrels. According to Avery the beer is,
Patiently aged in the finest of Bourbon barrels, this bold Belgian-style Quadrupel layers notes of rich, dark fruit, vanilla, and caramel with a burst of tangerine peel culminating in the vibrancy of this full-bodied creation.
Best Served: 50F. In Snifter or goblet, however this beer has a strong aroma and would be fine in any serving vessel.
This beer is a bit like the Apostle Peter. It’s strong, bold, but not fully matured yet. You want to love it but something it still missing. Personally, I would prefer a pinch more Belgian spice. This quad tastes more like a trippel with a ton of bourbon than a quad. To be fair, the brew claims to be a Belgian-style ale, not an actual Belgian. Either way, I would still recommend this beer. I have a slight suspicion that if this beer was cellared for a few months then it would taste even more fabulous.
Aroma: The scent has a very strong bourbon note with virtually no oak or barrel. The orange peel (not orange) comes through strong. There is no classic Belgian aromas that are easy to discern.
Taste: The first sip brings out a soft yet ‘hot” Belgian style flavor. It’s very light on the spices and the orange peel is more in the aroma. However, the bourbon comes through hot and strong. This might scare some away but the reverend loves bourbon. There is not a real hoppy taste so it’s pretty smooth.
Texture: This beer is carbonated well and pours a large 3-finger head. It’s a very crisp and refreshing feel. It could easily be consumed in the warmer weather season.
Finish: The finish is more Belgian and bourbon than anything else. It’s slightly sweet but not exactly fruit-like.
Comparisons: For the average Belgian drinker this beer would be slightly different than a standard Belgian. For the moment I will refrain from comparing this brew.