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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

243 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 243
Hads: 740
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 21.68%
Wants: 36
Gots: 95 | 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: 243 | Hads: 740
Photo of WissBrauSean
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer I poured at room temperature into that tulip looking glass. A good glass to test beer in as it funnels aromas toward your knows (nose). I learned that from the new DFH beer glass video.

It poured a very brown black and clear with very little head of medium brown bubbles. I was a little wary from the look of the head. But that dissipated (the head, not the worries. in fact, with the head dissipating I worried more) and the larger sized bubbles were replaced with a nice ring on top of the beer of super fine bubbles that leave a really cool archway looking lacing pattern on the glass. I tend to wonder sometimes that if under controlled conditions if the same beer from the same batch AND a different batch would leave the same kind of lacing pattern on the glass. Like a fingerprint.

Aromas are super pleasant and an equal mix of coffee, roasted malt, caramel malt and an underlying note of vanilla, one of it's ingredients. I know there is a slight hop aroma in there somewhere, but can't pinpoint it.

The taste is phenomenally similar to the description of the aroma. Wow! If compared side by side with PBC, regrettably I would choose this. In no way do I mean to offend, but I was never a Joe Porter fan until recently when I had it on a tour there on tap and then again tonight with a reputedly new formula which tasted creamier and with vanilla. Not sure, just my observation. But anyway the Wolavers is smooth, creamy, very much like coffee and vanilla in with roasted malt and some caramel. Hops aren't super apparent but there and only really noticeable, to me, at the end. I do not that the beer is slightly sweeter than it is hoppy, but mostly balanced well.

Mouthfeel is mostly full, creamy and lightly sweet with light carbonation that really lifts the coffee and vanilla to your nose and taste buds. Hops are apparent at the end leaving a dry and bitter, but not overly floral bitter, in your mouth. It really is a function of making you want more and I do!

Overall, I give this beer a 4, or better, out of 10. I'm going to review this on Beer Advocate and see where the numbers take me, but I really love this beer!

You gotta get out and try these beers! Life is too short for those crappy beers! Don't let them tell you what to drink!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mhksuccess for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and vanilla beans. Taste is much the same with coffee and vanilla flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew pours a brown/black, almost completley black with a light mocha colored head which disspates quickly. There is light lacing on the glass.

The smell is strong on coffee. It smells like fresh roasted and ground coffee; I really can not smell anything else but the smell is pleasant.

The taste coffee forward, with malt and spicy hops toward the finish.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, strong carbonation.

This is not the most complex porter I have tasted but sometimes there is something to be said for simplicity. This porter is heavy on the coffee and that is fine by me; it just works. It goes down smoothly and although it lacks the complexity of some other porters it is a smooth drinking beer.

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Photo of BigCheese
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black, thin sandy head, a touch of lacing.

S: Great aroma, fresh ground coffee, medium roast. Intense.

T: Very coffee forward, true coffee flavor and not espresso. Some chocolate and roasted maltiness comes through but this one is all about the coffee.

M: Low carbonation, has a nice slick richness to it. Mouthfeel seems like it could be brewed with oats.

O: One of my favorite coffee brews, must try if you like coffee.

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Photo of Chas58
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from my growler filled at Central Liquors in Flemington, into my Firestone Walker Nonic Pint Glass

Appearance - pours a very dark and fairly thick brownish black. Not completely black but with some light reflected. the head is very active, much like a thick stout. It leaves a inch high creamy brown head with vey nice lacing, The head dissipates fairly quickly though.

Smell - an initial strong aroma of coffee beans and coffee. The differentiation is that the bitterness of coffee mixes with the pure richness of the smell of the beans. A subtle maltiness does sneak through, but coffee is clearly the winner in the aroma.

Taste - You clearly taste the coffee first, and then get a balanced maltiness with a sweet smokiness. Not quite and dominant smokiness like in other smoked porters, but more the smokiness you get from a dark roast coffee.There is a subtle sweetness that also hides and balances out the coffee taste. The taste is well balanced but very prominently coffee. A subtle cocca flavor is also apparent and makes the taste very complex and interesting to explore.

Mouthfeel  - you get a fairly strong carbonation with a bit of a hop kick that makes this more complex and subtly more bitter. You do get a residual film that contains a very nice dose of coffee.

Overall  - This is a very nice porter, it walks the line between a stout and a porter with an nice maltiness and hop kick that make it clearly a Porter. The coffee is clearly the star of the beer, and Wolaver's has done a very nice job mixing the heavy, strong and bitter coffee with a maltiness and subtle sweetness that makes this enjoyable, drinkable and complex. Clearly seek to find this in bottles, or better yet on tap or in a growler fill.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Appearance: Pitch black with a decent tan head that dissipates pretty quickly.

Smell: Smells like ground coffee, but not so much like brewed coffee.

Taste: Well, much like the smell, this tastes more like coffee grounds or chocolate espresso beans than it does brewed coffee. It's still interesting, but it suffers for it. The porter itself is unremarkable.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied porter that goes down watery. Unremarkable.

This is a little bit of a let down, I want a coffee porter to taste like brewed coffee...

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

dark brown almost black in color, 1/2" tan head. smells of dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate. surprisingly sweet smells for such dark roasts. the taste is a coffee and beer lover's wet dream come to life. this absolutely fantastic coffee flavor with almost a hazelnut tone, mild chocolate.. dark roasted grains. wonderful. it is medium body leaning towards light.. slightly watery, nicely carbonated.

this is probably a better review than when i had it on tap. the beer is still SOLID and even though i haven't enjoyed most of this brewery's releases, this is one of my favorite beers to have during winter months.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown (almost black) in color with some garnet red highlights and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of coffee beans with just a hint of sweetness.

T: Nice strong flavors of coffee that increase in strength as the beer warms. Lighter notes of roasted malts with some very light notes of sweetness. Light bitterness that fades quickly.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this beer but I could see others being disappointed because the flavor is completely dominated by the coffee - as a person that really enjoys coffee, I really like this one.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel adams pint glass. Purchased in Wakefield, Rhode Island

A- Pours a deep brown, nearly opaque body with mahogany highlights and a thinnish mocha head that reduces quickly and leaves little lacing. Nice head color.

S- Fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, and an interesting grassy note in the background.

T- Coffee beans, toffee, with a slight roastyness on the finish. It's an easy drinker.

M- Slightly watery for a porter. Medium carbonation.

Overall quite an enjoyable brew. It's a smooth drinker that demands sip after sip and doesn't really fill you up. I'd buy it again

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, 102412 stamped on the bottle, not sure if it's a bottled on or best by date. I don't care, I'm drinking it anyway. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is very good, and there's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, it smells mostly like coffee and roasted malt, along with some bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but the coffee flavor is more of a sweet roasted flavor (because of the vanilla) than a bitter roasty one. I like it because the coffee is definitely noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, but I think it fits the style well since it's a porter and not a stronger stout. It's also very smooth and goes down easy enough. $8.99 a 6-pack? Yeah, I'll be buying this again.

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Photo of HenryCarr
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'll say it right off the bat. This is a very dense flavor; it's a little too much for me. I've never been a fan of the strong flavor blend or the thicker beer and this falls into both categories.

Of course, some people don't like asparagus and I love it. I'd say this beer is good for what it is. I just don't like what it is.

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Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a deep brown color with a nice billowing tan head. The head has very good retention, but eventually fades to give a lighter level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is overall rather light. It is heaviest of roasted malt and a nice dark coffee/ espresso aroma. These are the dominate aromas but there is also a very light vanilla aroma that mixes in with the other two rounding out the roastier/darker aromas well.

Taste – The taste starts out smooth and bready. The bready is of a roasted malt/dark bread in nature. This flavor quickly mixes with notes of coffee flavor and a lighter vanilla flavor. The vanilla loses some ground as the coffee gets more intense toward the end. At the end of the taste you are left with a mildy sweet and very pleasant coffee flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – A medium bodied medium carbonated brew. A bit more body would have enhanced some of the nice coffee and light vanilla aromas, but overall it was pretty appropriate and good.

Overall – Not overly intense in coffee, but it acts as a nice addition to a porter base. The little bit of vanilla sweetness does well for balancing the roasty flavors. Well worth a try.

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Photo of Jake351
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Half a finger head of froth, lying atop a rootbeer-like fluid of color and clarity. Letting more light through than I would have thought.

S: Unmistakable bracing whiff of roasted coffee beans, from 2 feet away! Impressive, I could close my eyes and imagine myself in a coffee shop!

T Roasted coffee flavor is present on the beginning and middle of the taste, with chocolate notes to finish it off. Bitterness that could be coffee like or hops like, though it's not an unpleasant ambiguity, as it rounds off the taste in a very classy way.

M Lacy carbonation leaving a light to medium body for a porter. The taste is more memorable than the mouthfeel.

O Solid porter with coffee flavor that cements its name. Truth in advertising. When I think 'coffee' porter', this will be on my list of 'go-to's'.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 1+ finger white head with some nice retention and leaves behind some lacing. Some carbonation is visible under the head and above the body.

S Big coffee bean scent and a slight chocolate

T Lots of coffee bean flavor along with some chocolate and sweet malts. Roasty finish thats slightly bitter

M Medium to lighter feel for a porter but not to thin. Medium amount of smaller carbonation bubbles. Wouldn't mind a more robust feel but not bad.

O Nice porter with great coffee flavors.

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Photo of barleyroad
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice lite coffee brown in color. Smell, wow can you say fresh gound coffee. Strong on the smell and very refeshing to the nose. Taste is a great blend of coffee and beer. This is what coffee beer should taste like. Mouth feel is very clean, not lingering here. Overall this is what a specialty beer should be. Hay pass the cream and the begals. Wow.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Next to no head. Dark brown-black with wine red hues through the light. 2.5

Dark sweetened coffee and vanilla extract. Roasted barley and a little licorice. 4.0

Black coffee, vanilla, some residual sugar, black cherry, char, and licorice. A nice semi-sweet porter with a bitter finish. 4.0

Medium in body, lighter in carb. The finish cuts back on drinkability. 3.5

An above-average porter, and all organic to boot. I usually have one a year. You should too. 4.0

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Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Went to an event sponsored by Long Trail/Wolavers at a local restaurant and had a couple minutes to speak with the brewery rep.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint.
A:Medium brown color, lighter brown small head with minimal lacing.
S: Coffee, vanilla, roasted malts
T: American coffee very strong throughout beer. Only minimal amount of vanilla and roast present when drinking. No bitterness evident which I was pleased with.
M: Light mouthfeel, but well carbonated
O: Was told since I indicated I prefer porters and stouts to give this one a try. Exceeded expectations. A solid coffee stout that is available year-round. Surpised I walked by this one numerous times before in bottle shops before the recommendation. Will buy again when I'm craving a porter or stout when the weather gets warmer.

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Photo of atr2605
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours black with a sudsy tan head that has very nice retention. Leaves a small lace
S-Big bold fresh coffee and unsweetened chocolate. The coffee aroma is absolutely fantastic. Smells like a freshly brewed cup o' joe
T-Coffee dominates the flavor and has fairly low hop bitterness. Unsweetened chocolate comes in the finish but is quite subtle, and overall the beer finishes quite clean for how much flavor it has
M-medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation
O-really awesome porter. One of the most coffee flavored-coffee flavored beers I have had. A lot of beers will have the hints of it but this really comes through in the aroma and the flavor but still isn't overwhelming. Great beer

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Photo of Kinsman
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours a deep mahogany color. A strong pour only produces about half an inch of white head, and even this sputters out quickly. Light rings and patches of lacing remain.

S: Freshly roasted coffee beans, toffee, caramel, faint powdery chocolate. Just a very slight hit of cherry/berry-like fruit. Ghost-like herbal and tobacco hops. Highly aromatic.

T: Cherry esters and a hint of smoke start things off. Coffee flavors kick in shortly after, though they are nowhere near as prominent as they were on the nose. They come across more as stale grounds or day old coffee. Caramel, some toffee, and faint packaged hot cocoa mix. Just a vague hint of leafy, spicy, tobacco-like hops. Vanilla bean is barely perceptible. Had I not known it was there, I'd probably have missed it. Caramel, cold pressed coffee, and some nutty and smoky tastes finish.

M: Medium bodied, though the moderate carbonation cuts through it and makes it seem lighter. It is somewhat creamy and silky too, and fills the mouth. Good.

O: The base beer seems to be more of an English style porter. This approach seems to confuse people these days. When you say 'porter,' most people automatically think dark and roasty. I think this might turn some people off, though I find it to be a refreshing change of pace. My main criticism of the beer is that the taste just does not live up to the nose, and that the coffee flavors seemed a bit old and stale. Oh yeah, and how about that vanilla?

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Photo of BB1313
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with ruby edges, nice head and decent lacing and retention. Huge blast of black coffee. There's subtle hints of chocolate, malts, and earthy notes, but the coffee dominates. Vanilla is present, but dominated by organic coffee. Tastes like coffee, seriously.. cold coffee that is. The flavors are roasty, but the coffee simply dominates and diminishes everything else that's going on. Mouthfeel is really nice, well carbonated, smooth and light-bodied. Goes down like water.

Nice porter, but the coffee completely dominates, making it somewhat one dimensional, so one was enough. But hey, it's advertised as a coffee porter. Either way, it's still enjoyable and if you like coffee dominated beers, you should try this.

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Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
88 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.