Monday, September 24, 2012

Knee Deep Imperial Tanilla

Type: imperial vanilla porter
Origin: Lincoln, California
Price: $8.19 per 22 oz
ABV: 10%
NSP: 7.9

This is a beer I had really high hopes for.  My love of the imperial vanilla porter is completely based upon Red Brick Brewing's Imperial Vanilla Gorilla, which tastes like vanilla ice cream mixed with chocolate, coffee and a high wallop of alcohol.  Knee Deep's Tanilla Porter has many of the same characteristics of the Vanilla Gorilla but with a much lower ABV.  So you can see how I would be ecstatic for the Imperial version of the Tanilla, to bring me back to that one hot day in Atlanta last September.  Unfortunately, the flavors are much more muted on this one versus the regular Tanilla.  My first sips were rather harsh, with no predominant vanilla, coffee, or chocolate coming through.  I should note, I just moved, and my new fridge is much colder than before, which strongly effected my original impression.  After drinking down a few ounces, I decided to warm it with my hands and let it sit out for awhile.  Definite improvement, but still not quite there to the Imp. Vanilla Gorilla.  There is a definite coffee bitterness popping through which I think slightly subdues the vanilla notes.  The vanilla is there, but not in the same doses as in Tanilla, probably due to the increased ABV.  There is still a harshness to it as it warms, which I think can be overcome with a bit of aging.  In fact, I have two more of these that I immediately tossed in my closet for aging, so you will get a second review in about six months.  This is still a fairly good beer, but I think there is room for improvement.  Heres my main criticisms:

1: Its a bit thin.  I want this thing to have a thick mouthfeel, reminding me of dessert.  I really don't know how you fix this, but probably leave more sugar behind.
2: Not enough vanilla.  Upping the ABV probably subdued the vanilla, so I think more is needed
3: Possibly lower the hops.  A bit too bitter for this style (48 IBUs according to the bottle).  And this is coming from someone that is infatuated with Hoptologist, one of the most underrated DIPAs in the country at its 100 IBUs

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