Seven Incredible Barrel-Aged Vanilla Stouts
It’s holiday-shopping time, and you know what that means—the hustle and bustle of rounding up gobblies, gifts and garland. With all that effort, you’re more than allowed to unwind—a pint or two’s the ticket. What better way to celebrate the season than with a stout? The vanilla variety reigns victorious, but there are so many it’s hard to say which ones stand above the others. Not to fear, we’ve done the work for you. Here’s a satchel’s worth of vanilla stouts aged in whiskey barrels. These deliciously dark delights should not only be in your brew cup, they’d make great gifts as well.
Bourbon County Vanilla Rye
Goose Island’s got the ticket to stoutsville. They wetted our whistles in 2010 with the Bourbon County Vanilla Stout then Vanilla Rye in 2014. (The vanilla beans burgeoned from Madagascar and Mexico.) This wickedly wonderful stout has an ABV of 13.6%, but it tastes too good to be true. The birds of brew left a vanilla-marshmallow might lingering in our mouths, and it’s time to bring it back!
They made an impacting dent in the dark-beer world with Derivation 2, so Side Project Brewing’s back with Blend #6. Both blends have Ugandan vanilla beans, but installment six is backed with cocoa nibs and a splash of cinnamon. It’s likely you won’t be ready for this brew’s boost, as its 15% ABV will have it moving like molasses in your glass. But the vanilla beans blast your taste buds while the cinnamon saunters down your drinking drainpipe.
Fundamental Observation (FO)
Bottle Logic leaped to the top tier of stouts when they fashioned their 2015 FO. And while folks say sequels never surpass their predecessors, the brewery’s 2016 batch has beer nerds begging to differ. Bottle Logic’s latest FO foam has a halted vanilla variant—a better balance in the brew—but it’s still tip top!
Marshmallow Handjee (BVDL)
The crew at 3 Floyds Brewing’s back with a “Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord”—appropriately named as such for it being a barrel-aged vanilla stout. It’s one of most masterful mashes on the market—’nuf said! Their Marshmallow Handjee might melt you, but the vanilla variable fumigates your face while pulsating over your palate to the extent of you forgetting it’s foam.
Upon two, consecutive kills for best beer and best brewery at Cigar City’s Huna Day, 3 Sons is safely among the super-stout sellers. Their headquarters hasn’t even opened yet (but will soon), and they’re already ascending to the top of everyone’s list—especially with Summation, which was aged in bourbon, kicked up with coffee and enveloped in vanilla. This suds smacks your tongue with a bourbon-soaked-marshmallow taste—but be ready for the coffee roast. ...so good!
Beer Geek Vanilla Shake (Bourbon Edition)
The makers of the beloved Beer Geek Breakfast are back with a whiskey-barrel-aged version of their supreme stout but with a vanilla vibe. Mikkeller’s 2016 dark mash is as fantastic as their first batch, but the boisterous bourbon is what gives it a win.
A Night to End All Dawns Vanilla (ANTEAD)
It has been said “the night is always darkest before the dawn,” but Kane Brewing’s keeping to the dark. In two years’ time, they’ve held our allure with an array of ATEADs. The 2015 limited-edition vanilla batch sold out online in under 30 seconds! That batch raised the vanilla bar for our base senses. We eagerly await a 2016 sample of Kane Von Vanilla.