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

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Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter
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very good

667 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 667
Reviews: 236
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 32
Gots: 51 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Unfiltered and unpasteurized porter brewed with Vermont grown organic coffee and aged on organic vanilla beans.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 667 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Axic10
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark coffee black with a thin layer of tan head that fades away rather quickly.

Smell: Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes.

Taste: Iced coffee, coffee grounds, vanilla, dark chocolate. and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: I was very impressed with this. I will be picking up more after this six pack is gone.

Photo of yesyouam
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter is a brown-black ale with a coffee-colored head. It thins to an even foam and leaves thick sheets of lacing on the glass. It has a huge fresh ground coffee aroma with notes of chocolate and vanilla. The soft, chewy medium body leaves the mouth clean and dry. There's lots of coffee in the taste. It's lightly bittered. The hops are hiding beneath the coffee-- everything else is too, really. It's well balanced and pretty mellow with lots of coffee coffee flavor. You want coffee? Here you go. This is quite sessionable.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice two finger creamy looking head. The head is somewhat dark, looks like milk chocolate. The body is pitch black, you cannot see through this beer at all. The lacing leads me to think that this will be a tasty brew. Wow, the smell of coffee is just so overpowering in this beer. It smells like just strait up coffee, I maybe pick up a faint hint of vanilla as well, but not much, it's pretty much just all coffee on the nose. Taste is pretty disappointing, I was looking for a very robust mouthfeel and full taste, but I am not getting that. This beer basically tastes like generic beer mixed with coffee, it doesn't even really taste like a porter mixed with coffee, rather just a generic ale or lager. There are not enough malts or other interesting flavors for me to consider this a porter, and the mouthfeel is way too thin for it too be a porter, it feels more like a pilsner. With all that being said - it still isn't a bad beer, it is very tasty, just not at all what it could be. It is very drinkable, tasty and smooth, but as for mouthfeel, like I said before - pretty disappointing.

Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once more, my main man in town, tone77, hits me with some bottles to keep my numbers in line with The CANQuest (TM) madness.

From the label: "Certified Organic by Vermont Organic Famers"; "Brewed with organic roasted barley & chocolate malts for a rich, dark and robust flavor with an infusion of organic vanilla beans and coffee from the Dominican Republic farm country Alta Gracia."; and "Our products contain no preservatives, are not pasteurized and, like all fresh foods, will change over time. We print the date we bottled on [11/11/10] for your information." Veterans' Day Beer! Right on!

The pour revealed Black Death! I had a thick two-finger cap of deep-beige head sitting atop what looked like the oil spill of last summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Nose smelled like the interior of Starbucks and I usually eschew their coffee because it is too strong even for me, a retired US Navy sailor. Zounds! Lifting the glass to the light reveled NO light penetration, just a glass of oily liquid, black as night, black as the Ace of Spades. The Black Hole of Calcutta came to mind, also. Cue Moe at Sam's Saloon: "Woody takes his coffee like his women - hot and black!" Har. The mouthfeel was really full for a porter and the taste was really acidic bitter with hints pf chocolate. Wow! Me likee. As the liquid level went down in my glass, thick, sticky lacing began to appear. The finish remained highly coffee-like and strong coffee at that. It is going to go a long way for you if you like coffee but it may not entice others.

Photo of Docer
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this in a trade from Ranbot, another fantastic extra...

- This thing pours nothing but Porter.. dark rich coffee and black colors.. minimal light beige head down to some scattered bits, and a ring left to stay.

- Great coffee notes, bitter, grassy.. light cocoa, vanilla..

- Grain, bitter roasty grain, light cocoa, bitter black coffee.. not too sweet, light sweetness w/ vanilla... overall very good, and balanced. Bit bitter which I like for the style.

- Light bodied, slightly creamy, and just a touch dry because of the bitterness..

- Overall a fantastic porter, and sets a good standard. I would prefer a little more vanilla flavor as it says it was brewed w/ vanilla beans, but it is hardly noticeable past the coffee and grain notes.

Photo of mountdew1
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Aroma was prevalently coffee, slightly burnt hints. Also reminded me of very dark chocolate. Taste was a sweet milky mocha. Had some vanilla lactose hints, but was strongly a milk chocolate with tad of coffee. Tended to finish with well balanced coffee flavors. Solid in the mouth. Very slightly thin, but not bad. Needed a tad more carbonation. Very easily drinkable. Very well balanced and extremely pleasant to drink.

Photo of beerman207
2.17/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

My sister hooked me up with this one and it survived the plane ride home in tact.

A: Pours just like I want - dark brown head, fluffy at first then disappearing into a light skim. The body is the deepest brown you can get without being black. Pretty excited.

S: Coffee, maybe even a bit of licorice? smoke as well.

T: Man, just when I was really excited this thing kind of reminds me of a local oatmeal stout we have in Cincinnati (not a good thing). Coffee dominates the whole thing and it's kind of a mess imo. Needs more sweetness to balance.

M: Mild carbonation, body is medium.

D: Man, what a bummer. Thought this was going to be great based on the pour but for my taste this is just an average or below average porter. To be fair, my favorite is the Edmund Fitzgerald and that's a lofty goal for any porter to reach.

Drain pour - better beer in the fridge than this.

Photo of grover37
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance (2): Dark brown with burnt orange around the edges. Finger and a half of head which disappeared entirely very quickly. Hopefully it wasn't my glass. No lacing at all.

Smell (3.5): Stale coffee, oats, a touch of vanilla. Maybe some oatmeal raisin cookies and some pine if you dig deep.

Taste (3.5): Mostly the coffee flavor up front. Other than that some dark malts and a roasty finish. The malts of a porter don't shine through per se, but it is definitely more porter than a stout.

Mouthfeel (4): A bit thin for a porter, but that's OK with me. It's smooth but not too creamy and the roastiness lingers which is pleasant.

Drinkability (4.5): Being a porter it stands out from some other coffee beers. Although it probably wouldn't be a great porter, it's not a bad beer overall. Although there is no ABV information to be found, I'd say it's around 5.5% and hidden well. Very drinkable.

Photo of trappistlover
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

(12oz bottle courtesy of plondrigan!). Pours dark brown with 1" tan head. Aroma is ground dark roasted coffee, earth, dark chocolate and a light berry note.Taste is slightly sweet with a roasty bitterness. Unfortunately, this beer is quite thin. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, but still watery. Finish is roasty. An ok beer that would be much better if there was any body to it.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly pitch black in color, although when held to light yields some ruby edges. Great looking creamy tan head. Retention is good, but could be better.

Strong fresh brewed coffee aroma. Some vanilla backs the coffee here. Some roasty malt as well, but it all blends toghether very well. Maybe some dark chocolate as well.

Roasty malt, but lacks a harsh edge. Some vanilla helps round things out. A coffee and cream feel here. Dries a bit at the finish.

Body seems thin, although there is still a creamy feel. This is really the only knock I have on this beer. Alcohol is a non-factor here. Very well made.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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 gfreed
2.98/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

If you must have coffee in your beer, this one isn't a bad one to try. I'm not a huge fan of the style: unlike the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, beer and coffee do not represent a happy accident. The coffee here is far too forward in both aroma and flavor, although the burned and slightly bitter aftertaste is pleasant. The sweet whatever-it-is up front, however, is a bit icky. Non-dairy creamer, anyone? Postum?

Photo of Brenden
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 metter98
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color (near black) and has a slight amount of carbonation visible near the edges of the glass. It poured with a finger high creamy tan head that faded away and left only a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are very strong aromas of coffee beans and roasted malts in the nose. There are some hints of sweetness in the initial taste and a slight amount of bitterness in the finish.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and the coffee flavors become stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels light-bodied, thin and a bit watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The thin body makes this beer seem more like a carbonated coffee instead of a beer.

Photo of Rick187
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black with a very small tan head, minimal lacing.

Smell is great, a lot of coffee, slight vanilla

Taste is much better then I was expecting. Generally when I think organic, it tastes like dirt. But not the case with this one. A lot of coffee, some chocolate as well.

Thinner then I'd expect for a porter, good carbonation.

Seems fairly drinkable, but I'm not sure if i'd seek this one out again. But better then most that i've tried from Wolaver's.

Photo of rembrant
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appears....dark brown,not full opaque but close. about the coloring of otter's Stovepipe porter. little if any head. @nd pour,aggressive...I did get a moment of tan head but...soon gone. Not being dense..having no head...no pretty colors...hard to score points on looks

Aroma the coffee comes through in a nice fresh cup way. Not finding any vanilla,but there's a tangy something,some dark malts.

Taste....Not fully warmed but tasty. there's a background note of grape juice I didn't notice a few days ago having this beer. The foreground is coffee and a nice medium dark roast...not a dark espresso. that kind of goes with the somewhat restrained nature of this. It's not aiming for Big ass Stout Bomb...more like a comfortable beer with flavor and just a bit beyond a Brown Ale.
Likable,not a 'wow" factor. warmer it sweetens a little,and that grape tangy in the finish is less but still there.

Mouth Pretty good. it is what it is,it's on the thin side for a Porter and yet the flavors and a bit of stickiness mask that,so you could drink it up and that thin body gets overlooked. I think they sort of wanted to do a more "everyday" counterpart to a big Coffee/vanilla Stout. I mean...It ain't Dark Lord but it's available and affordable...and even Organic (the more I drink the healthier I feel!)

Drinkable....well done here. It's wet,has flavor and life,no Shock + Awe beer but feels rich yet not ponderous. No 'nasty" in there. Organic too.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wolaver's Alta Garcia Coffee Porter has a dark brown body that, being completely opaque, looks black. A frothy brown head has solid retention and lacing.

The aroma is good, with tons of fresh roasted coffee in it.

The taste, although similar to the aroma, is much less pleasant. Coffee completely dominates the flavor, but it is acrid and bitter. I find this problem with lots of coffee beers, and its a shame. Besides coffee, there is a little bit of roasted malt and that's about it. This beer isn't bad, I just think it missed the mark in the coffee flavor.

Medium bodied with carbonation that is a tick above average.

I certainly wouldn't contend that Wolaver's Alta Garcia Coffee Porter is a bad beer, as that would not be true. I for one, however, was not enthused with the slightly off-flavor of the coffee.

Photo of hosehead83
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Deep black with ruby highlights, nice, sturdy head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Big whiff of dark roasted coffee
Taste-Rich roasted coffee, dark chocolate. Very smooth and creamy with great coffee flavor throughout. A bit thin-bodied but very aromatic and flavorfull. A great beer for coffee lovers.

Photo of tchenery
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an awesome black color with a nice frothy tan head.

It smells like a coffee shop. It really does smell like a whole roasted coffee bean or a fresh cup.

The taste is malty at first which surprised me with the aromas. It then flows to a bubbly mouthfeel followed by a coffee/espresso aftertaste. It is a very refreshing and slightly cola-like. It has hints of tobacco and char. This would be an amazing beer-float beer.

Mouthfeel is chewy as a porter should be, but also spritzy and lifing with it's carbonation which I like. It might be too bubbly though.

It has amazing drinkability, especially for a porter. It could definitely be a 6 pack beer and I'm glad it is.

Photo of foogerd
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark still body looks completely dead, with some large bubbles surrounding the rim no head to speak of.

S- Ground coffee takes over your sense of smell, smells like fresh grounds to me. On a second whiff it smells even stronger than grounds, almost like someone cracked opened a bean in front of you and you'd be sniffing it.

T- Bitter black freshly brewed coffee with dark chocolate melting inside of your cup. The vanilla wasnt too predominant for me, more of a backround support flavor.

M- With all this brews robustness I would expect a stronger show for its mouthfeel, heres with this brew lost points for me. Thin and almost watery. I would like it to be thicker for a brew this big on taste.

D- Very drinkable, the thinness of the body actually helps this area. I dont know the abv but it doesnt seem high at all.

Photo of tone77
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of my morning coffee. Taste is of strong coffee, espresso like, some malts, good flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a quality brew.

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- As dark, if not darker than most stouts... no light at all shines thru...

S- Smells like you'd brewed coffee, and put it in the fridge for Iced Coffee the next day. Just a touch of burnt wood.

T- Tastes like the coffee you've always wanted to have first thing in the morning... would be great with a shot of Kahlua or Bailey's... and a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll! The vanilla starts to come thru nicely as it warms up. I could almost drink this hot, with whipped cream instead of Hot Cocoa after shoveling snow! Just a hint of alcohol on the finish.

M- Swirls on the tongue and really sticks there! Has a warm woody finish.

D- Really rich, one or two of these is plenty to warm you up.

One of my favorite Coffee brews for sure!

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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 GehenHerzog
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased from Brawley's poured into a Skull Coast Pint glass

A- Pours a dark chocolate brown, basically black with a a thick tan headl

S- Smells of a dark roasted, iced coffee. Very pleasant smelling with a slight hint of chocolate. very nice coffee and slight chocolate notes

T- Taste follows the smell, as it is tastes like an alcohol infused roasted coffee. Great flavor. Not much chocolate to speak of but it is there.

M- Medium to full bodied. Fairly thin.

D- I would guess the abv is higher than it drinks (maybe 7-8%?)

If you love coffee than this beer is for you. It is a nice take on the American Porter and the strong coffee flavor keeps you coming back for more.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. No info, scratched up numbers which I assume was a date.

Thanks to Onenote81 for this brew. I had this on my wants for reasons unknown to me and he knocked it right off!

A - Red mahogany and clear while pouring, this coffee porter becomes almost fully black in the glass. A small almond-colored head rises, sinks, and leaves no lace all pretty quickly.

S - The strong aroma of cold black coffee is (pretty much) what I'm looking for to start my late morning off. Slight hints of vanilla come through but never become much more than hints. A touch of cocoa and mocha follow through with the heavily roasted malt finish.

T - Strong black and cold coffee assaults the taste-buds in this porter and almost makes me wish I poured it into a coffee mug. More vanilla comes through in the taste too. Heavy roasted chocolate malts back it all up but there is a cold, mineral-like finish I'm not fond of.

M - Medium-full bodied, Wolaver's Coffee Porter is thick and viscous up front but becomes thinner as the carbonation kicks in. Slightly acrid bitter through the finish. A little "cold" and hard. Very, very slightly metallic.

D - Honestly, I have no idea why this was on my wants but I appreciate getting it! A decent take on a porter, the coffee infusion is heavy while the vanilla, not so much. Not bad.

Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 667 ratings.