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

Not Rated.
Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee PorterWolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

240 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 240
Hads: 728
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 34
Gots: 86 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 240 | Hads: 728
Photo of mullenite
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glassware - Oversized brandy snifter

Appearance - Pours a pitch black with almost no head. What little head there was fell very quickly and was a nice light brown color. Not really any lacing of note that stuck.

Nose - Very coffee forward in the aroma. There is some vanilla in there as well but it's not the typical vanilla you get from beans or extract, it is much closer to the vanilla that comes from oak.

Taste - VERY coffee dominant. Very dark roasted, almost to the point of being burnt. Nothing else really comes through except the coffee. I have to give them credit for being able to pull off such a dark roasted coffee without getting any of the catty/ammonia flavor that can come with it.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, a little thinner than I like but the carbonation is perfect.

Overall - I enjoyed it but would probably not seek it out again. It was very similar to Swamp Head's Midnight Oil but with a little less body. I would rather drink the one brewed less than 3 miles from my house. (1,002 characters)

Photo of VenaCarva
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Keeping everything in mind, I am not a fan of coffee.I picked this up in a "make your own six pack" deal, but I am giving a fair review based off someone who does drink and enjoy coffee.

A- It looked very impressive. It had a nice dark, thick look to it. While pouring it down the side of the glass, it created an almost marble look before evening out, but I'm strange, so whatever.

S- Smells exactly like coffee. Nothing more, nothing less.

T- Again, tastes 100% like coffee, only... it's beer. Awesome.

M- Pleasant. It was thick, but not syrup like. Very smooth.

D- Again, for someone who doesn't like coffee, I found myself at the end saying "I could drink another." (674 characters)

Photo of fastpass17
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich brown, frothy foam rich head.

S: Roasted espresso bean, light sweetness in the end.

T: Bitter coffee start, dark chocolate in the middle, no apparent hoppiness, and a round maltiness.

M: Coats the mouth completely, leaves coffee in the back of the throat.

D: Has session ability, nice and enjoyable. (311 characters)

Photo of MaltistLupulist
2.93/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso (Dupont Circle) in Washington, D.C.; served in a nonic glass.

Appearance is pretty dark, considerably more so than a standard porter, but nonetheless a shade shy of what you'd a expect a stout to look like. A good amount of short-lived head resembling raw umber yields feeble lacing.

The nose is an assorted mix of predictable and unexpected, even random and whimsical, aromas: dark-roasted coffee, some dark fruits, some ham (smokiness), some vinosity, and some sharp funk/rancidity. While I'm normally quite keen on sour ales, I'm concerned as to the presence of aromatics characteristic of that style in something as different as a coffee porter. I suspect the vanilla component plays some role in this olfactory confusion, in particular its interplay with the coffee component, which may work well in a caffe latte but not when fermented grains become a variable, at least not in this case.

My concerns are confirmed as I take my first sip: all the aromatic components have their counterparts in the flavor, but, surprisingly, the vinosity and sourness, while unusual, are far less offensive than the coffee component, which is harsh, astringent, and grimace-inducing. Some roastiness in terms of the malt itself, rather than the coffee, is detectable but obscured by that of the java (hispaniola, actually). I'm ambivalent as to the sourness--one moment I like it, the next I don't--but the peculiar combination of fruit and funk is an intriguing and not inharmonious one. The coffee element, however, is uniformly offensive (although it mellows a bit in the finish), and, as this is the primary flavor, spoils what may otherwise have been a tasty beer. The burnt coffee flavor in this porter is enough of a repellent on its own, but its incompatability with the sourness of the beer renders this a near-drainpour.

Medium-bodied, lightly-to-moderately carbonated. Mouthfeel could be described as silky, but I'm too busy scowling to pay much attention. Drinkability is poor not because of any alcohol detection but because of the reasons described above; if you can tolerate the harshness, I imagine you can have a few of these without exceeding "tipsy" on the inebriation scale.

In summary, I'm glad I tried this at a half-price happy hour rather than committing to a sixer--I'd ogled this beer many times on the shelves of my local Whole Foods--but I'm extremely unlikely to ever try it again. I suppose I should never say never, though; my review of Founders Breakfast Stout was likewise damning, but I have come to realize it can be quite toothsome with a few months or even weeks on it. Perhaps the same is true of Alta Gracia, but even if this is the case, I doubt a compromise can be reached between the disparate coffee and lambic/sour ale traits of this beer--it's almost as if it has a split personality. (2,853 characters)

Photo of runner72
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, ruby red, creamy head, laces the glass

S - Coffee, vanilla, burnt... something a little off on the smell

T - coffee, a little burnt/smoked taste. malty. coffee on the after taste

M - malty, a little tingly with the amount of carbonation

D - A little off to my tastes. The mix of coffee and vanilla seems to be missing something plus the smokey taste (363 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown/black, where the brown is only apparent in the light. Small amount of light brown head, little rentention and carbonation.

s - Coffee coffee coffee. Also small hints of chocolate, roasted malts, and maybe a little cream.

t - Tastes strong of coffee and lighter of cream and roasted malts. Nice creamy/smooth taste to it.

m - Medium body with little carbonation, this felt good and was both smooth and creamy.

d - Overall this was a very solid coffee porter. I have had a few coffee stouts I would prefer, but the smoothness and creamy flavor this has makes me think I could drink a couple of these, and I would definitely go for this again. (715 characters)

Photo of u2carew
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Long neck. Consumed 1/14/10

A) Pours with a beige head about a finger thick. Opaque body. Lacing is thin and semi-sticky.
S) Coffee. Roasted grain. Light vanilla aroma. Bread.
T) Coffee, but more like vanilla espresso bean all the way through. Bread in liquid form. Finishes with an earthy grit and smokiness.
M) Lightly fizzy. Smooth. Full body.
D) A delicious porter. Well crafted with great flavor. (407 characters)

Photo of turnstile
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Jet black with a light brown head which quickly fades into a sparse film. Sticky lacing clings to the glass till the end.

Smell: A strong aroma of dark-roasted coffee beans, hickory, and smoky malts. Dark fruits also present but nothing specific comes to mind immediately. Second time around after agitation, grassy aromas come to the front. Maple/brown sugar notes after warming a little.

Taste: Again, dark roasted coffee with some hints of ginger. Sweet malts with a slight residual bitterness. A little bit of dark chocolate comes through as the brew warms. The taste fits the porter style well.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with moderatel carbonation. Makes for a decent chewy winter beer without the residual syrupy-ness.

Drinkability: I think that coffee porters are the type of dark beer where you can enjoy a few, but the coffee aromas/flavors here are pretty strong and leave me content with just one. It's fairly heavy body makes it filling, too.

Compared to other coffee porters, the coffee content is exceptionally strong but unfortunately overpowers the vanilla - it failed to make itself present. Overall, this brew was well balanced and accomplished what it set out to do. Certainly one of the better coffee beers out there. Extra points for its certified-organic status. (1,304 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a big fan of coffee brews, per se, but this hit the spot!

Pours a rich creamy black with a surprisingly thin head, given its viscous appearance. What little foam there is a deep tan color.

Smells like roasted coffee with a hint of vanilla-y chocolate. Just a hint. Mostly it's coffee. But, it's pleasant, roasty coffee, rather than bitter or acrid.

Taste is nicely pleasant coffee melded with a creamy, velvety mouthfeel and a bit of balancing roasted malt and vanilla. The chocolate of the aroma has vanished into a coffee flavor.

Really quite pleasant. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. (607 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour - pretty much pitch black. When held to the light you can make it some brown but this is some dark stuff. The head is relatively thin and coffee/tan color. Beer this dark makes for a nice reflection in the glass.

Aroma - very strong coffee aroma. This is the smell you get when you stick your face in a bag of fresh roasted coffee beans. I love it! It makes me think of the morning and breakfast and nice hot dark roast coffee. Other than the coffee smell I can't say much else stands out, maybe a tad bit of the vanilla. This is dark beer and dark roasted coffee lovers dream as far as the smell goes.

Taste - roasted malt, dark roast coffee, bitter coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, cocoa and a bit of burnt toast. Along with dominating coffee flavor is the nice subtle vanilla flavor that this beer has. Its nothing too overwhelming but adds another element to this dark brew. There is also a charcoal or carbon flavor to it that is hard to shake its almost acidic. If you think hard this could just be some seriously dark roasted coffee. I could drink this as an iced coffee in the morning, that would make time go by nicely.

Overall - if you like dark roasted anything than this is the beer for you. Its got a lot of toasty/roasty malt flavors that are bitter on the tongue and combine nicely with some serious coffee flavor.

Would I buy more of it? - I'd love to try this on tap or cask (does anyone ever stick some coffee beans in a cask with their beer?). Very solid coffee beer. (1,501 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Solid dark brown pour with a whisp of cream colored bubbles that maintained for a while.
Aroma is pretty much a light cold coffee with some french vanilla creamer.
Taste is similar with some roast malt to go along with the coffee and vanilla creamer. This is a simple but quality coffee taste. Faint hints of caramel and cocoa, but mostly vanilla.
It is a little sweet, but not quite too much. Lighter medium body, definetely not real filling and very drinkable. Abv must be at a reasonable level.
I could see this being a frequent night cap if readily available. Probably wouldn't want to drink 3 or 4 though, but who knows.
Otter Creek makes some solid drinkable brews and this is another. A must try for the coffee inclined brew drinker. (747 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this as an extra from steelersxl, thanks a bunch man! Dark black, pretty standard appearance for the style, looks good. Smells like coffee grounds after the pot has been brewed. Strong! The flavor is actually better than I expected, very heavy coffee flavor but its not bad, its actually pretty good and I don;t like coffee beers (usually). (346 characters)

Photo of beerjerk
4.73/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with a light brown head.

Rich and robust coffee and caramel flavors. Creamy yet light on the way down. Leaves a soft, pleasant coffee flavor that makes this one a true pleasure on cold winter nights. The quality of the coffee beans is well represented in this offering, well chosen ingredients went into making an exceptional porter. This is my new comfort beer. (386 characters)

Photo of ToddT
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown almost black with an tan head. Head fades slowly to a ring but leaves little lace on the glass.

S- Coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt.

T- Taste follows the aroma. Coffee but a little watered down, chocolate, and roasted malt round out the taste. Finish is a lingering note or slightly bitter roasted coffee.

M- Creamy and somewhat silky but a little fizzy from the carbonation. A little less carbonation would be a lot more here.

D- Pretty drinkable but a couple of flaws will keep this one from being a session beer for me.

Nice try but a little watery and fizzy. (590 characters)

Photo of Clydesdale
4.69/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours an opaque black color, with dark brown hghlights when held up to light. The tan colored head is fairly tall, dense, and frothy. Retention is good, with some decent lacing.

S: Wow - an excellent aroma of coffee. I've had coffee that smelled less coffeelike than this. There are also pleasant notes of vanilla and lactic sweetness, blending well with the roastiness of the coffee and malt.

T: Roasted malts with sharp, fresh coffee flavor. Wonderful roasty, vaguely fruity coffee notes. A lactic creaminess melds seamlessly with a pleasing vanilla flavor. There's a light hint of earthy/herbal hops into the finish, along with some notes of caramel.

M: Medium-full bodied. Carbonation is just on the light side, contributing an appropriate creaminess. A nice, roasted dryness into the finish.

D: I'm extremely impressed by this beer. Probably the best coffee beer I've ever tasted. Simply chock full of coffee flavor, with a perfectly balanced vanilla creaminess. Highly recommended. (998 characters)

Photo of Richardberg
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured into a pint glass. Dark, cola-like liquid topped with a thin head that disappears quickly. Leaves a nice film behind though.

S - huge coffee aroma. Not your average "porter smell" either; it really is like a rich, dark-brewed cup of Joe that has nuances of its own. Roasty malts are almost in the background. Just enough hops to remind you it's a beer.

T - like sucking on a coffee bean, then chasing it with a shot of espresso. I'm not a huge coffee fanatic but I like the effect a lot regardless. Finishes bitter (not mouth-puckering, just straight up bitter)...fitting.

M - surprisingly fizzy given the strong brew and lack of head. Gives the otherwise one sided drink a nicely unexpected kick.

D - quite good, again remembering it's an intensely flavored brew. Not going to drink several back to back, but I can definitely see myself revisiting Wolaver in the future. (886 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted coffee beans, dark malts and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a semi-sweet coffee flavor along with a hearty roasted malt character and a touch of chocolate in the background. The hops presence is mild as it should be and provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style this is a good coffee-flavored beer to drink for a while but there are a few others that I would pick first. (789 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wolaver's coffee porter pours a very dark ruby color into the glass with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thin sheet on the beer leaving behind spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is all dark roast coffee with a hint of chocolate mixed in. If you like coffee the aroma is delightful.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is very smooth with a light, oily finish. The flavor is much like the aroma. Coffee dominates, with notes of chocolate, vanilla and nuts mixed in. The coffee is a rich dark roast, but not bitter. Almost reminds me of an ice coffee. It finishes dry and leaves behind coffee flavors on the palate when gone.

If you like coffee you'll like this beer. Very easy to drink, with tons of coffee flavor. (752 characters)

Photo of matty
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is the smell of a diner in the morning(heavy coffee).Taste is coffee grinds,cocoa,and smoked malts.If you do not like the taste of coffee this is not for you.I enjoyed it but I would find it hard to drink more than one at a sitting. (289 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for the bottle, which provoked me to buy a 6pk and try it again. From notes.

Pours near black with a small light khaki head. It would be an understatement to say that the aroma is very coffee forward. Rich, high quality roast. Vanilla bean comes through as it warms but is generally more evident in the taste along with hints of dark chocolate. Low to medium bodied with low carbonation which is fine for the style but nothing really outstanding about the substance of it. Good drinkability, but the vanilla gets to be a bit much as it warms closer to room temp. A nice coffee-centric beer, but there are many better ones out there. Definitely reasonably priced though. (686 characters)

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz screw-top bottle purchased at McKinnon's in Salem. A vigorous pour yields a short-lived half inch of dark tan head a-top a nearly opaque black body with ruby-red highlights. Roasty espresso pretty much dominates the aroma with hints of vanilla, nut, and dark chocolate. Coffee is pretty powerful in the flavor too, lending some astringency to the flavor, with notes of vanilla toward the finish. Dark chocolate and nut struggle to be noticed in this coffee bomb. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. The roasty coffee tends to make this a bit on the astringent side, hurting the drinkability. If you're a big coffee fan, this is for you. Not a bad porter overall, but kind of a one-trick pony IMO. (716 characters)

Photo of soupyman10
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap the other day and was really impressed, so I figured I'd try it out of the bottle. Didn't quite do it for me - everything was basically the same, just without the "oomph" of the on-tap version. Vanilla and coffee dominate, but it's a lot waterier and thinner than I expected, and the tastes and aromas are just not as big or delicious. A disappointment, overall, although not a "bad" beer by any means. I'll stick with this one on-tap, if I can ever find it again.

P St. Whole Foods/$8/6-pack (510 characters)

Photo of Pahn
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours solid black with a 1/2 inch head that disappears almost immediately. Lots of visible carbonation at the top and sparse lacing.

Smell: Strong, fresh coffee beans. Very intense coffee aroma; this isn't Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, this is coffee with distinct character. Also hints of chocolate and vanilla, but the coffee aroma is by far the dominant note.

Taste: First sip is coffee ice cream with the slightest bit of smokiness. As I get further into the beer and it warms, the sweetness gradually disappears, a vanilla smoothness emerges in the middle, and the adventurous character of the coffee really makes itself known. There's a sort of unpleasant metallic bitterness near the end, and a rather dry finish.

As with the smell, the coffee is the star. Again, it doesn't just "taste like coffee," it tastes like a high quality coffee. It's not a coffee note, it's deep and complex coffee with its own set of notes and flourishes. This beer should be reviewed by coffee connoisseurs, not beer geeks. As with great, deep beer, the character of the coffee flavor just expands and explodes as the beer warms (and that beautiful coffee bean smell keeps on heightening the flavor). I'm not sure if this makes Alta Gracia a great beer, but it's certainly a good flavor experience if you like coffee.

Mouthfeel: More so than the somewhat "Is this even beer?" aspect of the taste, mouthfeel is this beer's flaw in my opinion. It's a bit watery and slightly overcarbonated. It's sort of like great coffee soda... I hate soda, and I wanted a beer, but then again the flavor of this soda/beer is "excellent coffee" so I guess I can't complain too much.

Drinkability: Well, the alcohol is fully masked (whatever the ABV is), and it's not as heavy as some porters, so I guess it's pretty drinkable.


What a weird beer... In a few ways, I don't feel like it's that well done as far as beers go, but what a coffee flavor! I would never reach for this brew if I had the inclination to have a beer, but at the same time I can't bash it. It's a strong and delicious coffee beverage that happens to have some alcohol and carbonation in it.

edit: while I can't speak for this beer on tap (though given the reviews, I would definitely try it on tap despite my somewhat lukewarm review of the bottle), I want to emphasize that this beer belongs in a snifter or a tulip; if this beer is your kind of thing, you don't want to miss any of that aroma. (2,500 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was discovered at the Riverview Cafe in Brattelboro, VT. It's a thick black color with just slight root beer highlights. The head is fair in stature and a light tan color. The lacing is very substantial and uniform. The aroma jumps out with delicious mocha and vanilla caramel, full and sweet, wow! The taste is assuredly bitter sweet coffee, medium bodied, somewhat milky and one of the most coffee rich brews I've had in terms of a pure blend of the two base flavors. Carbonation is very subtle at best, it's quite drinkable and full of flavor. Good coffee bitterness but very pleasant on any tastebud. My favorite Wolaver yet! (639 characters)

Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
88 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.