Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter - Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

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Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee PorterWolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

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very good

726 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 726
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 33
Gots: 85 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2009

Unfiltered and unpasteurized porter brewed with Vermont grown organic coffee and aged on organic vanilla beans.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 726 | Reviews: 244
Reviews by ffejherb:
Photo of ffejherb
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 8/14/11.

A - A chocolate brown liquid emerged from the bottle with little effervescence and a wispy tan head that vanished, save for a sparse ring of retention around the edge of the glass, leaving no lacing behind.

S - Iced coffee, nutty fudge and vanilla comprise the aroma. The coffee character is apparent but not dominating, as with most coffee beers.

T - Vanilla comes to mind first, followed by an iced coffee aspect with a light to medium roast character. Cocoa and nutty notes add complexity and complement the coffee and vanilla flavors. Finishes with a tinge of earthy bitterness accompanied by a hint of nutty astringency.

M - Medium bodied, though a little thin in the backend, with an oily texture and fairly bristly carbonation. Bittersweet finish with mild astringency on the palate.

D - Very good coffee porter overall with plenty else going on besides coffee. Try one for breakfast.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Guinness pint glass an ink black except for just a few rays of ruby when held to a bright light,a thinner toasted almond colored head atop.Aromas are like stickin your nose in French roast coffee gorunds,its that domant in its coffee aromas,a slight dark fruit element comes thru but its light.Flavors of dark roast coffee crystals are overwheleming,I havent had a beer is domianant its coffee character.Its a decent beer,if you like cofee you will like this.

Photo of stewfnrocker
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this from the bottle to a pint glass, it pours a dark brown almost black look with a visible tan head. The smell is of coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. When I took that first sip and swirled it in my mouth I got a good taste of coffee, vanilla bean, a little bit of a roastiness. The mouth feel is of a full body porter and a bit of overpowering sweetness, but I probably shouldn’t have eaten this with dinner, but with dessert. There is no hint of alcohol when drinking and the taste is very balanced. My only complaint would be it might be a little to on the sweet side. I recommend if drinking, either drink it alone or with some dessert.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep auburn pour into a Brooklyn Pilsner glass. Off white to tan head that falls quickly into a slight swirl. Not as dark as I'd hoped. Nearly transluscent in the light.

Wonderfully sweet coffee bean aroma. I don't think I have had a porter with such a distinct coffee bean aroma. It is like sticking my nose in a barrel of fresh roasted beans. The sweet malts make the aroma remeniscient of a chocolate covered espresso bean. Really great nose!

Flavor of watered down coffee with a dry finish. Blandish flavor in comparison to the aforementioned nose. Unpleasant bitterness on the finish. Really lacking definitive coffee, nutty, smokey, cocoa notes that I was expecting from the aroma of the beer.

Slightly watery and fizzy. the thinness is a real dissapointment, additionally lacking a smooth finish. There is missing a certain silkiness on the pallet that my favorite porters possess (ie Fuller's, Smutty, etc.)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #36 (Jan 2010):

Brewers infusing coffee into Stouts and Porters has become sort of a no-brainer, meaning roasted malts and coffee beans simply go hand-in-hand with each other. A lot of brewers have crafted a coffee beer as a result since it's an easy marriage of two insanely popular beverages that enhance one's mood.

This week, we're tasting one of these beers, but with a couple of twists. Part of Wolaver's "Organic Farmer Series," Alta Gracia Coffee Porter is brewed with organic roasted barley and chocolate malts, infused with organic vanilla beans and shade- grown organic coffee from Alta Gracia (cafealtagracia.com),
a Dominican Republic nonprofit farm community that em- powers its farmers with tools, techniques and fair wages in order to build sustainable farms. The beans are also roasted down the road from Wolaver's (Otter Creek Brewing Co. in Middlebury) at the Vermont Coffee Company.

Pours virtually jet-black with a magnificent creamy, milky-coffee lacing that sticks to the last drop. Very robust and roasty in the nose, which is full of fresh coffee, dry chocolate and nutty brown bread. Silky smooth palate, very creamy and lush, with a malty sweet foundation. Body is surprisingly lighter than anticipated. Vanilla notes are smoothed in nicely and complement the sweetness that also has a bit of a lactose edge. Acrid notes creep in, followed by bold, roasty coffee notes, baker's chocolate, hints of toffee, nuts and slight alcohol esters. Finish is extremely dry, a bit grainy and moreish.

A very well-balanced beer for everything that's going on. Not one element dominates, but rather they all complement each other, making for a very drinkable brew. If you dig coffee, chances are you're going to dig this beer--especially if you truly care about your beans as much as your beer.

Photo of generallee
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from tap at the Buffalo Brew Pub and served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The body has a very dark brown look with some lighter dark amber/light brown high lights coming through the glass. Visibility is good and the beer is topped off with a small light tan head that fades quickly leaving just a light ring of foam. This makes very minimal slick lacing.

Smell: This is the highlight of the beer. It has lots of wonderful roaster coffee notes in the nose with some milder dark chocolate and dark maltiness for backup.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is more subtle and brings a light medium bodied roasted coffee flavor and dark maltiness to the palate. It has a good balance and pleasant bitterness with some mild dark chocolate and mild hops in the background. On the tongue there is mild carbonation which gives it a very smooth, creamy and mostly slick feel.

Notes: Overall it is a good average Porter with a great aroma and easy drinkability.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a hint of light making it through...nice frothy head that retains very well. Smells of coffee and not much else...maybe earthiness. Tastes of the same...loads of coffee, roasty, slight vanilla, dark chocolate but not that bitter at all. Aftertaste is predominately dark roast coffee. This beer is....coffee. Not beer, coffee. I like coffee so I guess it's pretty enjoyable. Slightly thin mouthfeel and a dry finish. If you enjoy coffee, you'll enjoy this. Coffee.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Solid porter base supports extremely well-balanced medium roast coffee with just the right amount of vanilla in the background. Enjoyable nose. Absolutely delicious.

Photo of Jason
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Dark enough to be almost black, thin tan lacing

SMELL: Fresh coffee grounds, hint of vanilla, roasted grain, slightly sweet

TASTE: Smooth, mild crispness, semi-slick medium body, malty, sweet coffee, mild roasted character, toasted bread, mild vanilla, hint of alcohol, dark berries, roasty coffee finish

Good enough balance between the core of the beer, coffee and vanilla to make it work. Was hoping for more robust flavors though the drinkability is pretty high.

Photo of Billolick
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, twist off cap, no freshness info offered. Pours darn near black, dark tan head, shows lengthy retention, tight and long lasting, leaves the expected tongues of sticky lace. Bright nose of black coffee and bitter chocolate. MOre strong coffee notes, light vanilla and again ample dark and bitter chocolate notes. Decent mouthfeel, give em points for the organic purity, but a bit too much of a java flavor jolt here, unlikely I'd ever go for much more of this full flavor cofee infused brew, hence the lowered and rare (for me) lowered dinkability score.

Photo of tigg924
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: dark roasted coffee, some sugar

Taste: dark coffee dominates, there is a creamy touch in the middle that ends with a vailla taste

Mouthfeel: a moderately sweet end, medium/light body, minimal carbonation

Drinkability: The vanilla taste at the end really makes this one different from other coffee porters I have tried. I think this one is fairly drinkable and I could have 3 or 4. A very solid coffee beer.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

Pours a very nice deep dark brown, almost black, with a small super creamy nitro-like light brown head. Nose is fresh coffee, bitter and burnt.

Taste is mellow coffee, it's there but unlike some others (Victory at Sea) it's not over the top. The bitterness is well balanced with the sweetness leading to a nice dry finish. Dark chocolate and earthy, chewy dark malt flavors round it out nicely - very well done.

Photo of jondeelee
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Alta Gracia Coffee Porter opens to a coffee-heavy nose, with black coffee and espresso grounds mixing nicely with ash and tobacco, and all of this atop a layer of heavy coffee cream, molasses, and caramel. The aromas are big and bold here, at least at first, resembling in potency an Imperial Stout aged on coffee grounds. The aromas do fade after a few seconds, reducing from medium-heavy strength to medium-light, but remain finely nuanced. As the aromas fade, a layer of toast crust and brown breads emerges, as well as notes of wet hay. Tinges of pine and grapefruit from the hops add bitterness. As a whole, the initial aromas are excellent, but fade quickly, and these lesser later aromas seem somewhat watery and weak, and overly reliant on coffee for body, as if the removal of the coffee would reveal a rather average porter.

On the tongue, the beer is immediately full of coffee, with strong black coffee, coffee grounds, espresso beans, and light ash washing across the tongue. The coffee notes are strong enough that other flavors are initially difficult to locate, and only after a few seconds do bits of caramel, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, and cream come forth—but these are very light, as if a single teaspoon of flavored coffee creamer had been mixed into a very large cup of over-strong coffee. In subsequent sips, however, the coffee flavors actually lose potency, and instead the beer features a balance between breads, coffees, and sugars that is more tolerable, with nice notes of vanilla and caramel mixing with dark breads, toast crust, and espresso. The coffee notes, however, are those of coffee that has been ground and exposed to open air for a while, reducing their flavor and potency. Hops are almost nonexistent, providing mainly a bitter piney background fuzz. The flavors are still somewhat weak and watery, but are nicely flavorful. The aftertaste is a continuation of the coffee and bread notes, with fading sugars, and lingers on the tongue for a short while. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is decent fare, but marked at first by an overly-heavy reliance on coffee notes, and afterwards, by a watery mouthfeel and slightly weak flavors. The flavors themselves are fairly nicely balanced, but the beer as a whole seems like it needed to be better balanced from start to finish, with more oomph put in to maintain flavors over time, and a few more sugars to increase the molasses and caramel notes. The coffee notes could have also been more fresh, like the lovely oily notes that come from beans fresh out of the roaster. In all, some very nice points here, but nothing extremely eye-opening or catchy.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is excellent stuff, tastes like ice brewed coffee. Dark body maybe a hint of ruby makes it through the light, with dark tan head forming thick, fine speckled lacing left behind. Aromatics bring out acidic coffee notes/earthiness/dark chocolate/fruity full roasted fresh coffee roasts. Flavor brings out a super creamy rush of coffee/creamy vanilla bean/earthy robust ballsy porter notes. I can actually tastes fine bits of coffee roasts going on in this brew. Dark chocolate/tree bark/coffee grinds god bless America I'm getting buzzed on beer and coffee. Mouthfeel by the way the acidity doesn't hurt the palate/mouthfeel in anyway, carbonation a bit tight bubbled effervescent for the sytle but it carries everything through even the oils from the Dominican coffee beans from Alta Gracia. Overall this is the best organic beer I've ever tasted, and it's hella drinkable. Alcohol doesn't come through too strong, either it's hiding that fact or it's meant to be drank in number.

Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle dated 11/30/11 served in a snifter. Updated and much nicer label (from BA photo).

Pours a dark, slightly hazy brown with a small tan head. A small amount of sediment remained in the bottle although I tried to completely empty it.

The aroma [4.25] is dominated by fine coffee, but with hops and chocolate malt underneath, and hints of vanilla and toffee. The taste follows, and feature a very nice balance of spicy hops and coffee, with the dark malts keeping things tame, and a nice but subtle vanilla note. This is a beer almost certain to be enjoyed by those who like both coffee and dark beer. A fine,dry, bready coffee flavor lingers on and on.

M: light-medium body; I'd prefer something a bit fuller. OK carbonation. Smooth.

O: a fine coffee beer with a pronounced coffee flavor and aroma. Recommended.

Photo of Brenden
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is very dark, just edging on black. A creamy brown head forms and develops to about 1 1/2 fingers, remaining for a pretty good length of time and never completely dissipating. Fairly thick lacing is left behind in patches.
The aroma is exactly what I'd expected: coffee with a shot of vanilla behind some slightly smoky malts adding a reminiscence of espresso.
The flavor follows suit, adding a touch of earthiness. The roasted coffee is very much here with a very nice malts presence, full as a porter should be without transcending the boundary to stout. The vanilla is nice but does end up turning a touch too sweet to me, almost to the point of cloying, which slightly taints an otherwise fantastic taste.
The mouthfeel is full and porter appropriate, smooth enough to go down nicely with plenty of body from malt. Carbonation keeps it alive without going too far.
This is excellent and really gets what it's going for.

Photo of LeoPanna
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark espresso brown with a surprisingly white head. . .

Smells like a big bag of coffee beans...

Deep porter with roasted malt and espresso bean flavors... the taste is light which is a disappointment considering the solid aroma. Mouthfeel is average, not much carbonation, nothing stands out...

This one has potential... I wish the coffee taste was stronger...

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wolaver's- Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

A- Dark amber/black, thin, with a moderate soapy head.
S- Good strong black coffee slightly astringent. Sugary cream and vanilla.
T- Sugary sweet heavy dark roasted coffee beans, nice touch of cream, whipped cream, and vanilla. Black coffee flavor dominates.
M- Thick roasted malt body with sugary sweet cream throughout. A slight bitter touch in the end. Creamy overall.

Overall- Delicious Coffee Porter. Heavy on the coffee and very creamy.

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have found organic beers to be a bit watery and thin. Similarly here, however the mildness of the coffee was preferable to me than another thick coffee beer. It was more pleasant to drink at lunchtime, sessionable. Poured black, with roasted coffee aromas.

Photo of silver0rlead
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown bordering on black, with a thin tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is all french roast coffee and espresso, along with a bit of dark fruit, very dark chocolate, a bit of lactose and some burnt bread. The flavor is a bit one dimensional, with big arabica coffee and espresso, some dark chocolate, burnt bread, hints of dark fruit and alcohol. The mouthfeel is light and smooth and drinkability is limited by the intense coffee flavor. This is a decent coffee beer, but it lacks the complexity of the better coffee stouts/porters (pipeline porter, FBS, Bell's Java, etc.)

Photo of Selyrp
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pretty sexy on first pour; very dark with a nice mocha head, which faded quickly. Strong coffee smell was exciting.

Ever grab a handful of raw, unground coffee beans and chewed on them for a bit? This is kind of like that, but liquefied and carbonated. Much more coffee than beer, with a lingering sweetness.

Surprisingly light for a porter, given the robust flavor and went down pretty easily once I had gotten through the first few sips. Still, I prefer notes of coffee rather than a full-on coffee bean flavor, and would have trouble drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

Photo of hophugger
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice, deep chocolate brown color keeping out the light !!. Aroma is of chocolate and a back of coffee(thought it would be the other way around !!). Head is minimal and lacing is ok ! Taste is nice of roasted coffee infused with a bit of fine bittersweet chocolate. The feel is thick and chewy and this beer lingers around for quite awhile, Nice !!!!!!!!

Photo of Kinsman
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark dark brown, just a shade or two from pitch black with a nice and big creamy tan head.

A boatload of coffee upfront in the aroma with a little room left for some sweet vanilla notes. A bit of chocolate and roasty malts comes through in the finish.

This is a coffee beer with some kick. Rich and roasty coffee deliciousness with some sweeter vanilla notes to balance it out. Doesn't have the burnt aspect that plaques many coffee stouts/porters.

Rich and creamy mouthfeel that goes down really smooth. Overall, a top notch coffee beer.

Photo of KTCamm
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Part of a mixed six.

Pours a rich mahogany brown with minor foam that just about wears off. Burnt espresso smell and notes of vanilla. But coffee moreso.

Taste is smooth rich and flavorful. Bitterness of the coffee tries to break through but gets repelled by the vanilla. A very light bitter remains. Virtually no carbonation, but the smoothness works.

Quite good. And the coffee impact is noted, balancing out the alcohol leaving me neither tired nor more awake.

Photo of Beergelden
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wolaver’s is a Vermont based company, that produces USDA Organic beers in different styles, all of them true, classic examples. This one is an American Porter style ale, with a local Alta Gracia Coffee added. Wolaver’s is also part of Otter Creek Brewing and you usually see their beers next to each other in your favorite beer store.

Appearance: In the glass, it’s a dark brown, almost black color, with a light brown head about 1/2″ tall. The head hangs on to the edge of the glass after it dissolves and leaves an awesome lace around the glass as its swirled and drank.

Appearance Rating: 3 out of 3

Aroma: Right off the bat, the coffee hits you leaving no doubt of what this beer is all about. You get very nice dark chocolate, caramel and vanilla aromas along with the a slight fruity, estery quality that hangs around. Little to no hop presence to compete with the roasted and coffee.

Aroma Rating: 9 out of 12

Flavor: As you would expect, the coffee dominates the first sip, in the best way possible. It gives you a nice, smooth coffee flavor, not the dark, bitter espresso so many other coffee beers bring to the table. Some of the dark chocolate, roasted malt flavors in the middle and a good nuttiness that rounds it out. There is a slight estery, yeast character that holds on the back-end, and it finishes with a little roasted dryness overall.

Flavor Rating: 15 out of 20

Mouthfeel: A silky medium body with some minor astringency coming from the coffee and roasted malts. Medium to low carbonation and coats the mouth slightly as you drink.

Mouthfeel Rating: 3 out of 5

Overall: Overall this beer is all about the coffee! It has a solid Porter backbone with the roasted grains supporting and enhancing the coffee, in the aromas and flavors, as it should to make it successful.

This is one of my favorite coffee brews out there and it goes REALLY well with any dark chocolate for dessert or a nice seared steak. The coffee seriously brings out the best qualities of each.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10

Total Rating: 38 out of 50

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Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
88 out of 100 based on 726 ratings.