Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Urca Vanilla Porter - Dry Dock Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Urca Vanilla PorterUrca Vanilla Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

39 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 109
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 6.44%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 39 | Hads: 109
Photo of mynie
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (713 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours dark chocolate brown, pretty close to black, with a big active tan head that leaves good lacing.

Aroma is excellent and dominated by fresh vanilla aromas, not extract smells but real vanilla beans. There is roasted malts and some cocoa powder as well.

Taste is almost as good as the aroma. The initial taste isn't all that impressive with a lightly roasted malt and chocolate flavor, but as it warms the vanilla really starts to shine and each sip ends with a nice vanilla finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with decent carbonation and less roasty and sweeter than most porters.

I really like this beer as the vanilla is distinct and flavorful without becoming too sweet. Excellent porter. (722 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.05/5  rDev -21.4%
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. (447 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (1,090 characters)

Photo of Oxymoron
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (1,077 characters)

Photo of brdc
2.51/5  rDev -35.3%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of denver10
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
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. (1,075 characters)

Photo of claytong
4.51/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of my favorite porters to date.

appearance - is pretty typical, small head, black and opaque

smell - beautiful, vanilla chocolate, so rich and creamy smelling

taste - similar to a chocolate malt with vanilla

mouthfeel - creamy and thick and very drinkable, i wanted more. (279 characters)

Photo of Domingo
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dry Dock does a fine job with their fruit and spiced offerings. This is another great example.
This is in permanent rotation at the BJ's on Alameda and I225 as well as at the brewery itself.
Arrives a pretty deep brown to black color. There's a pretty thin head on top, but it does stick around for the life of the beer. Looks thicker than it really is.
The nice thing about this take on a vanilla porter is that the vanilla doesn't taste artificial, AND the beer has a backbone beyond the vanilla flavoring. Sweet, malty, & roasty with a generous warm vanilla flavor that compliments the beer instead of covering it up. Even a hint of hops in there to keep everything honest.
Even though it isn't a nitro tap, it has that sort of texture. Not too thick or thin - spot on for what you want.
This is the best vanilla porter I've had to date. Makes for a great dessert beer, too.
Dry Dock's got something huge on it's hands with this.

NOTE: If you're not a big vanilla fan, they also offer a "naked porter" which is essentially the same beer sans the vanilla beans. (1,064 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (490 characters)

Photo of u2carew
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber
A) Pours with a dark tan head. Slowly settles leaving a thin lacing on top and semi-sticky on the drink down. Nearly opaque with some mahogany hues.
S) Robust vanilla aroma mixed with chocolate and coffee notes.
T) Vanilla. Coffee. Cocoa. Hints of smokiness in the finish.
M) Full body yet with the slight thinness that accompanies porters. Gritty. Creamy.
O) A well crafted brew. Not too outrageous on the vanilla; a good balance. I'd have another...if only I had another! (485 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin for the bottle.

Brewed with over 2 lbs of Tahitian and Madagascar Vanilla beans.

Pours a very dark brown, nearly black body with a mocha head.

The aroma is an amazing dose of vanilla. Like the smell of a premium Madagascar vanilla bean at a gourmet spice shop. Intense, complex, natural vanilla.

You can taste some chocolate and toffee on the palate, but the story of this beer is the vanilla. With beers brewed with fruits or spices added, it is typically inappropriate to allow the fruit or spice to overwhelm the base beer. It should merely add an accent. The exception to this, is when the flavor contributed by this addition is so extraordinary, that balance no longer matters. This is one such beer.

The vanilla flavors are so amazing, so natural, so complex, that I don't care about balance. Rather than a Porter that uses Vanilla as an accent, this is a Vanilla beer with a touch of Porter roasty character rounding out the edges. Not sweet, not bitter, just genuine vanilla flavor and a hint of porter.

Medium bodied, smooth, and creamy on the finish. Maybe a little thin, but it really helps the drinkability.

I have tried this on tap a few times and I enjoyed it, but for whatever reason, it seems to taste much better out of the bottle. Hopefully, we will have bombers of this on the shelf soon. (1,335 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
3.84/5  rDev -1%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.84/5  rDev -1%
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. (408 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (773 characters)

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Poured from newly bottled bomber to pint glass! I've had this several times off tap by Dry Dock just started bottling it so I figured I had to buy it today the first time I saw it on the shelves.

A - Beers pours a dark brown, not black, with a solid 2 finger dark tan head with excellent retention and gobs of lacing.

S - Hi Vanilla! The aroma is a powerful vanilla. There are hints of roast as well but overwhelming vanilla!

T/M - The aroma carries over to the start of the beer where you get a hige palete of vanilla. It melds nicely to a blend of vanilla, chocolate, and roast. In fact it is suprisingly smooth and creamy! Beer ends with a sweet note and the vanilla lingers. Unbelievably smooth for a medium bodied Porter.

D - Absolutely.

Overall this is hands down the best vanilla porter I have had to date. Nothing else can match the vanilla aroma and flavor while still bringing extreme creamy smooth deliciousness. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-21-2011 18:59:29 (1,141 characters)

Photo of tlazaroff
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice moderate vanilla aromas over light mocha coffee. It's a nice aroma over all, and very inviting.

Very dark brown in color with a bubbly, and somewhat frothy tan head with pretty lacing. If anything, I would wish the head would stick around more.

Blasts of vanilla right up on your palate on the first sip. Mid palate is full of a lightly roasted coffee and little bits of chocolate. Bitterness comes through on the finish, but just a little bit. This isn't a sweet beer, it's just really vanilla-y. Dry finish brought on by a crisp medium bodied beer offering medium-light carbonation. It's a great after-coffee beer. (623 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (1,318 characters)

Photo of zachary80
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber.

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. (515 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice one finger beige head. Body is black in color with auburn brown highlights. Head retention and lacing were above average.

Smell is awesome. Similar to Southern Tier Choklat, smells like a banana split. Very heavy on Vanilla Beans with sweet chocolate also present. Hops and alcohol are not detected.

Taste is similar to smell, lots of vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malts but this beer is all about the sweetness, like liquid desert.
Like smell, hops and alcohol are non existent.

Mouthfeel was rather light with a chalky finish. Beer is aggressively carbonated and head was gone halfway through beer.

Overall this was a good beer, pretty sweet but not cloyingly sweet like some vanilla porters. Kind of a one note beer but thats not necessarily a bad thing. Would buy again, definitely would buy one at a restaurant with some brownie a la mode. (864 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a Dry Dock tulip glass.

Beer was black in color with a small, dark brown head. Head quickly diminished, but left heavy lacing around the glass.

Aroma was heavy malt, strong vanilla, coffee, roasted oats, alcohol and brown sugar.

Taste backed up the aroma. Nice, full vanilla flavor, with a hint of coffee. Really tasty beer. Finish was long and slightly bitter.

Drinkability was pretty high, even with such a full flavor. I love this beer and highly recommend it. (505 characters)

Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
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 (386 characters)

Photo of TenHornsProud
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (441 characters)

Photo of sevopie
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark brown with lighter hints at the edges. Tan to brown head, little lacing.

Smell - Vanilla is prominent, along with a sweet chocolate and not much else.

Taste - Vanilla again is at the fore, but is more balanced out by some coffee and chocolate flavors, some maltiness, and finishes with a bit of a hop bite, again with the vanilla rounding it out.

Mouthfeel - Decently thick with a healthy amount of carbonation for a porter.

Drinkability - Oh man, I love this beer. I went in with high hopes and was not disappointed. I *will* be getting this one again, even the girlfriend likes it! (605 characters)

Photo of radioscooter
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
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. (1,182 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Urca Vanilla Porter from Dry Dock Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.