Overall: Not to criticize right out of the box, but where's the Imperial IPA? A little too sweet maybe, but it mixes well with the buttery vanilla flavors. The 10% abv is well masked. It's a well made brew and there are no errors in it. Just thrown off on the style issue with only a faint hop bitterness. In the right setting this would be a very solid brew choice, say with the right food pairing or in front of a fire in a sniffer.
Poured slightly cloudy with the a big bubbled, off-white, foam that is the size of small mountain. Recedes quickly but there is a ton of foam. Retention is somewhat sticky and spider web like.
Aroma is uncommon for a DIPA as I guess the oak chips would make it. Suprisingly, though, there is a light vanilla aroma that barely makes it. Sweet, toasty, slight booze, and earthy hops come through. Nice, just not expected.
Taste is similar to the aroma as it doesn't seem like your normal DIPA. The hops are toned down. Toffee, buttery, vanilla, and sweet with some undertones of earthy hops, but that might be a reach. After taste brings the heat on the tongue and down into the stomach. Bitterness is almost nonexistent.
Medium body with ample carbonation benefiting the overall taste.
It isn't what I expected but I like it. I would like it more if it was categorized as a Strong or Old Ale. Being a home brewer, if I entered a contest with this one as a DIPA, there is no way this would score much more than the low 20s, if I was lucky. As a DIPA a poor beer, but as a beer in general, average. The high alcohol makes it difficult to drink more than a pint, while the sweetness makes it difficult to finish the pint. Enjoy!
"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." - Dave Barry