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Urca Vanilla Porter - Dry Dock Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Urca Vanilla PorterUrca Vanilla Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 109
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 12.82%
Wants: 33
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Dry Dock Brewing Co. visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drumrboy22 on 09-11-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 109
Photo of brdc
2.51/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had this one on tap at the brewery.

Dark brown, nice head, some lacing.
Aroma is heavy on the vanilla, and unfortunately, most other notes are just pushed aside by the vanilla.
Somewhat thin, on the palate it again shows massive doses of vanilla, and the other expected porter notes are nowhere to be found.
It gets very sweet and cloying after a while, and although I tried, could not finish this one.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours dark brown with a small creamy light tan head that quickly goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet perfumey vanilla, some wood and some roasted chocolate malts. Smells a bit like lodgepole pines.

The flavor is lots of sweet vanilla with some roasted malts. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and a bit watery.

Overall, a bit thin and too much sweet vanilla for me. Better than Breck's though.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.16/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this in my first BIF (Thanks Lambic lady) and was so excited to try it I popped it in the fridge and 4 hours later - here I am. Just came off of a Founders KBS which i did NOT like. I love me some sweet vanilla stout (STCB) so let's get this show off the road.

Appearance is perfect. Pitch black body, staggered cafe au lait head that sits about a finger up after an aggro pour.

Smell is some flowery vanilla and hops. Hmm. It's a porter so I'm good with it. But it is claiming EXTREME vanilla so - I am unconvinced.

Tastes surprisingly dry and the vanilla is right there, but floral. I'd love to have this on tap. A bit dry, the flowery vanilla lingers on after the dry porter goes down. Tastes more floral than beans would suggest.

It is what it says it is - a vanilla porter. But I think vanilla needs some more sweet to go with it. Just like cocoa does. Coffee can stand bitter on its own. Vanilla and Chocolate NEED more sweet. This needs more cream and sweet.

Also too carbonated. A bit too bubbly for the style and for me.

It's an odd choice for a porter. I love vanilla mixed with the creaminess of a milk stout or stout. But with a dry porter it is a rough fit.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown bottle glass with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium pilsner glass in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger head of fairly decent cream, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy vanilla, some cream, light roast, and a dark malt foundation. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Heavy vanilla, cream soda, some cream, and a dark malt foundation. Some nice layering. Not horribly complex or subtle, but certainly pleasant and enjoyable. It's a nice little beer. I do like it. Well balanced and pretty well built for the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nicely thick for the style. Apt for a porter. Adequate carbonation. Nicely moderate on the palate.

Dr: A nicely drinkable little beer. I like it, but it does need work. It's a nice little Vanilla Porter, and is pleasant considering its aims. I'd have it again. I'm growing increasingly excited about Dry Dock's beers. This was my first, but I look forward to trying more.

Low B-

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Photo of brentk56
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a rocky head that leaves a pretty nice curtain of lace behind

Smell: Vanilla beans scraped from the pod; hints of chocolate and grain underneath

Taste: The vanilla is very strong, up front, but by mid-palate, there is a grainy, tobacco-like element that joins the profile; after the swallow, the vanilla really dominates, however

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit light for the style

Overall: Love the smell and love the concept but am not crazy about this beer as the vanilla that smell so good on the nose just dominates everything on the tastebuds; I would like to see more porter flavors to balance out the vanilla

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Photo of denver10
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A: A huge brown head appeared as I poured it into my tulip glass. Took a couple minutes to drop and a nice coat remained on the surface. The beer itself was a nice, consistent black liquid.

S: A very nice sweet vanilla is the focus with some coco hidden underneath.

T: The vanilla iintroduces itself at the beginning and is very sharp and distinct. That the vanilla flavor is generated naturally from beans rather than an extract is obvious.Roasted malts kick in towards the middle and makes for a nice pairing with the vanilla. The one thing I would have liked to have found here was a little bitter coffee flavor to it to help cut the sweetness a little.

M: Maybe the highlight of the drink for me; super silky and creamy. Medium bodied.

O: A very nice porter and one I would gladly go back to. It is quite sweet so this is definitely best appreciated in moderation, as I definitely couldn't drink any more than this bomber's worth and might even prefer a little less than that (l16 oz's is probably ideal), but in the proper allotment this beer is definitely a winner.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was definitely more brown than black which surprised me since the naked porter was indeed black. The smell was vanilla but the taste was so much vanilla that I thought I was drinking a cream soda (Big Red!). This was interesting but I much preferred the naked porter.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO.

Pours an opaque dark brown with a 1 inch beige head that fades to an oily cap. Random patches of lacing form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of vanilla beans, vanilla ice cream, and vanilla coffee creamer. Taste is of vanilla beans, vanilla extract, and roasted malts. There is a slight roasty bitterness after each sip that lingers on the palate. Good carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good porter with a better vanilla smell than taste. I am glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Great mound of fluffy tan head grown on thin black fluid. Lacing is voluptuous.

Vanilla , smoke, nutty, milky, chocolate. Slightly too hazelnutty.

Thin, sweet, underwhelming. Carbonation is much lighter than I expected. Milky, nutty, vanilla is not in sugary quantities, Chocolate flavor is dry and lasting and well buried in the vanilla. Nuts are nice, just not hazel varieties. (see aroma, too much hazelnut)

Cheers, this one is worthy @ $7/22oz. Recommended for the hazelnut lover.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

apparently I was in a very sparse mood when I wrote these notes:

a: deep black w/ light tan head and light lace

s: very light coffee; chocolate; sweet vanilla bean

t: strong lightly artificial vanilla; coffee; chocolate; tastes a little bit like a dunkin donuts flavored coffee

m: very smooth and very creamy

d: worth a try but certainly not the best vanilla porter i have ever had

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Black as night. Light is not penetrating this thing at all. A little off-white head topped the beer at first, but faded in about 30 seconds leaving some wispy bits of foam on the surface.

SMELL: The smell is dominated by roasted malt flavors and a bit of coffee. There is also some dark chocolate lingering in the background, but that aroma seems to grow as it warms.

TASTE: The subdued taste of chocolate leads the way in this porter that leans towards the lighter side of the spectrum. The vanilla kicks in for a moment right before the finish and lingers on the tongue as the liquid disappears. Roasted malt and a touch of coffee serve to cut some of the sweeter flavors and provide some bitterness. Not much hop character to it at all, although, the finish leaves a hint of lemon.

MOUTHFEEL: Smooth and easy going down is the best way to describe this feel, it is very pleasant. It is also a bit creamy and very light with just the tiniest hint of sparkle.

OVERALL: This is a solid Vanilla Porter, but I’m not sure it is worth bomber prices. I would be more likely to buy this as a six-pack or on draft somewhere. It certainly improves as it warms though. If it comes straight from your fridge or a beer cooler, give it a chance to breath and the true complexity of this beer will reveal itself.

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Photo of TenHornsProud
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head that lasts and laces.

Smells of vanilla and malt, almost dairy/milk character.

Has smoky undertones, some nutty character, and, of course, vanilla in the front.

It is smooth and creamy, vanilla ice cream comes to mind, lower carbonation.

This is a good beer with vanilla distinctly in the forefront, but there are some more subtle, smoky aspects that makes this not just a vanilla bomb. I would buy it again.

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Photo of mynie
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Solid porter pour: 90% opaque with a large, tan head.

Smells surprisingly robust, for the style. Fairly strong vanilla mingles pleasantly with sweet'n'sour porter malt. No hang ups, no roughness. The vanilla is aggressive without seeming ersatz (nothing is worse than when a vanilla beer smells like vanilla-scented candle wax).

Tastes a good notch below how it smells, and that's entirely attributable to a body that's just way too weak for this style. The nodes are basically the same--very nice vanilla, very solid porter barley--but they don't come together nearly as well. There's a strong flatness in the back end. Nothing gets tied together.

Overall pretty good. With some refinement, it could be great.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Dry Dock.

A-- deep, dark, murky brown, or near black. Looked sort of nitro really. No head at all just a bit of film here and there. To me the weakest part of the beer.

S-- Vanilla bean, chocolate, and more vanilla. A little muted at first but good vanilla notes.

T-- Rich vanilla. Beans and Extract taste though they used beans with this. Chocolate and coffee in the background. Very nice taste and how the coffee and chocolate play off the vanilla.

M-- Touches of coffee acid in the mid and back palate. Vanilla at first, followed by chocolate and then coffee. Like how it builds to coffee. A little bit sweet but workable. Medium feel and medium high carbonation.

O-- Good desert beer. A little sweet at times but a good vanilla porter. Liked it a lot.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up while on vacation in Denver. Dark brown, nearly black pour with a quickly fading one finger caramel colored head with decent lacing. As expected, the vanilla dominates the nose along with hints of coffee, subtle cocoa, and hazelnut. The taste is also dominated by the vanilla along with hints of maple, hazelnut, caramel, coffee, cream, and subtle chocolate. The mouthfeel is incredibly creamy and smooth, but at the same time a bit thin. Overall, I love the fact that the vanilla is very natural tasting as opposed to the artificial taste you sometimes get with vanilla beers. Unfortunately, it's a little too sweet for my tastes, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of cvm4
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours dark brown with light around the edges. The cream tan head dissipates quickly.

S - A refreshing hit of vanilla and light roasted malts.

T - At first it's like a hit of cream soda, just like the reviewer below me. Then the vanilla comes on in full force.

M - Just what I'd expect from a porter, lighter body & medium carbonation.

O - This beer captures the style of a vanilla porter in spades.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Dry Dock. Heavy vanilla. A LOT of vanilla. Quite nice. Milk chocolate underneath. Medium body. Pretty good, but I expect a bit more from a vanilla beer.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So vanilla equals clothes (non-naked)? Sampled on site, the appearance was a midnight black color with brown hues that rim around the side of the glass. Very dark with limited transparency. Soft brown head with good head and retention.

The nose is a blend of roast and vanilla. The vanilla is up front with more of a extra quality. This is quickly blended with more of a coffee roast aroma. More of a coffee nose than the Naked Porter. There is a light milky finish on the back end.

The taste is nice as it blended very nicely. Typically the vanilla is too strong in most vanilla porters, but this is balanced well. To start, there is a sweetness with a vanilla flavor and a mild honey undertone. This is blended nicely as the roast comes out more. The vanilla is noticeable but not over bearing. There is a slight earthy hop bite that could be boardline spicy. The finish has a lactic finish as well.

The body is moderate but the vanilla lightens it up a bit. Overall I enjoy the balance. even though I'm not a big vanilla porter fan, I can see how people could enjoy this.

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Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to SteveO for this one!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Carob, vanilla & coffee

T: Vanilla & carob, some roastyness & dryness up front. Dryness & coffee, plus more vanilla as this warms. Finishes with roastyness, vanilla, a touch of woody hops & coffee

MF: Medium bodied with smooth carbonation

A drinkable & enjoyable porter, but I've had a few that best it, the best thing about this how natural the vanilla tastes. I've had plenty where it seems like extract is badly added...

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

n8dietz is the man for picking this beer up for me.

Dark brown to black in color with a smallish head after the pour and a ring of foam that lasts for all 22 ounces.

Good mix of vanilla and roasted malt aromas of coffee, chocolate, and roasted bread crust.

Creamy texture through and through adds a chocolate, vanilla, cream soda kind of flavor to this roasty sweet vamilla porter. Sweet, but not too sweet session porter IMO. Good vanilla flavor takes center stage it seems, but doesn't dominate. The finish is a little flat and quick, other than that. Glad I got to try this unobtainable CO beer for people from IL.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown; black in low light. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a half finger skim. Laced in wavy rings.

S: Vanilla, lots of vanilla. Faint hops, earthy.

T: Toasted malts along with the vanilla (like the beans, not the flower). The flowery part of the vanilla lingers in the finish that, while a little dry, is not bitter.

M: Light body. Moderate carbonation. Surprising crispness for the style which diminishes the smoothness and richness.

O: Definitely vanilla. Extreme as it masks much of the malt character. The feel was not quite right for a porter. All that said, a beer I enjoyed and will have again.

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Photo of YourMomDrinksBud
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. No freshness date to be found.

A- Pours black with no highlights. One finger head that dissapears pretty fast leaving a nice film. Leaves some nice lacing, nothing to spectacular.

S- Vanilla bean, vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, marshmellow.

T- Vanilla cream dominates the taste. Malts only come through lightly. A little chocolate and graham cracker. It's a pretty sweet beer, makes for a great dessert.

M- On the light side for a porter. Very creamy mouthfeel. Ample carbonation, sweet but not cloying. Drinkability is great if you like the vanilla.

O- Interesting beer. A little one dimensional in the taste department but enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of zachary80
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Super dark brown body, little to no tan head fades and leaves only slight lacing.

Aroma of strong vanilla, very sweet, some coffee, a hint of the roastiness but the vanilla is the star here.

Vanilla is at the forefront again, more roastiness and coffee flavors come through than in the aroma.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, right for a porter, but maybe a little too watery. Carbonation is fine.

Tasty, I would love to try an imperial version of this. Seems like it as is would be better in sixers.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dry Dock Vanilla Porter has lost the Urca from it's name in going from tap to bomber? Sad, really, since Seven Cs has become Seven Seas and the U Boat is now simply Hefeweizen.

Served cold into a goblet on St. Patrick's Day.

The vanilla porter is a very dark brown color with thin, short-lived, creamy off-white head.

Aroma is immediately recognizable as vanilla. There is a little bit of roasty malt but it is easily dominated by the fresh vanilla bean.

My initial response to the flavor is "cream soda" followed by "a good porter overwhelmed by vanilla flavoring." Either way you look at it, this is a unique beer that seems to have nailed the concept. If a vanilla porter is what you're after, this is the one.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low/gentle carbonation. The alcohol is low so it's not surprising that it hides well in this full-flavored beer.

Overall I think they hit the nail on the head. Whether this is your kind of beer or not will determine if you enjoy it. I think it's good for what it is but not something I would drink on a regular basis. A good dessert beer.

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Photo of session1979
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery over the weekend. I initially ordered the Imperial IPA but decided to get a sampler so I could try out some of the other beers. Being a dark beer whore I of course tried this one right away and was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it as the style isn't a favorite of mine.

Appearance: Jet black with a slight beige head.

Nose: Chocolate, roasted/burnt hops, coffee and of course a healthy nose of vanilla.

Taste: Lots of vanilla in the forefront followed by roasted barley and coffee. Capped off with a very nice slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Light in texture with only a bit of carbonation.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, have a few!

Overall: I tend to stay away from spiced beers but this beer is very well done and although the flavors are all prominent they are all very well balanced. Very nice.

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Urca Vanilla Porter from Dry Dock Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.