Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout

This says it is oak-aged, but not aged in a barrel that used to have some kind of whiskey or other heavy liquor in it. One of the even more curious things is that this doesn't say anywhere on the bottle what the ABV is. I had to go to the Dogfish Head site to find it, and there I found a range. I picked the top end of 17.5% (it was only 1.5% different, anyway).

The deep brown-until-black beer sports a thin, chocolate brown head that doesn't really want to be here, and it scurries away pretty quickly as the beer sits. The aroma is heavy on the oak, as you might expect. It definitely has the vanilla peeking through and even a bit of chocolate, but oak is winning the day.

First sip is a solid smack in the taste buds. It hits with the force of a baseball bat to the knee with more sweetness than you can shake a stick at and a heavy, liquor-laden oak that has no right to be in a beer. The vanilla and barley are waving "Hi!" in the background, but they are shunned by the loud, boisterous oak. This deserves a closer look.

Tip-in is dangerously, syrupy sweet with chocolate roasted significantly and vanilla lovingly embracing it. The middle saunters in to flash its syrup-soaked oak and roasted barley to the awaiting crowd. The finish comes along with a heavy bitterness out of nowhere, and the oak becomes a sieve through which the barley, dark fruits, and a little coffee come slinking through.

Bottom Line: She's a different beast altogether from the rest. But she will treat you right in the end.



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