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Vanilla Bean Brown Ale | Landmark Beer Company

31 Reviews
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Vanilla Bean Brown AleVanilla Bean Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Landmark Beer Company
New York, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John on 05-31-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 36
Photo of Brad007
3.23/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown with a small brown head into my glass. Very light for a brown ale.

Just a trace of vanilla bean among sweet molasses and a very dull hop presence.

Vanilla bean essence (read: essence) dominates upfront, followed by a malt profile that seems more at home in a red ale.

Lingering trace of vanilla bean followed by traditional malt. Nothing really special and the carbonation level seems too high.

Not bad but not as great as I had hoped.

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Photo of njmoons
2.38/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle at Half Time, to give a vanilla beer a try. While the Vanilla in the aroma was nice, in the flavor is seemed artificially strong, and in conflict with the beer.

This was the first Vanilla beer I have tried, and it did not work for me.

Appearance: A nice chocolate brown color, decent head with limited retention. Looked good.

Smell, the brown ale, hop, and Vanilla flavor made an interesting and nice aroma, I was looking forward to this beer.

Taste: Not too good. The beer flavor seemed all over the place. The base brown ale was a little thin on the malt, the Vanilla hits like a punch right after the ale flavor starts, and the finish is too bitter for a Brown Ale. The Vanilla flavor seems artificially enhanced. The bottle says all natural flavors and I am not suggesting they were not, just too much Vanilla.

Mouthfeel was good. Appropriate for the style.

Drinkability: I would not drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Beejay
3.71/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks DmanGTR!

A: Reddish Brown in color and crystal clear. Nice very very full head on top. The head on this thing is huge and persistent. Leaving some lovely lacing. A gorgeous looking beer.

S: Porter, Malt, brown sugar and vanilla. Almost like a sweet oatmeal scent in there with the vanilla. Very nice and mellow, with a subtle roasty flavor at the end.

T: Nice an malty, creamy smooth with a nice vanilla kick in the end. Good but not ground breaking. Bet it would be awesome with ice cream or a float.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is nice. Nothing funny here.

D: Good. Not something I would drink all night. But a good change of pace beer, interesting and tasty.

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Photo of jneiswender
1.72/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Had a pint glass of this from the bottle.

A-gem brown, rocky beige head, very dense.

S-malty, metallic and some vanilla

T-smoky, malt front, snap pea flavor in the middle, and some hop bitterness at the end. Very little vanilla flavor at all


D-very little vanilla flavor to this brew. the other competing flavors were some what off-putting

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Photo of tigg924
2.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: caramel brown with a one inch head and medium carbonation, clear

Smell: caramel and toasted malt--surprisingly no vanilla

Taste: faint vanilla, toasted malt then a roasted malt taste

Mouthfeel: smooth, high carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: The vanilla here is super subtle and when it hits, it seems very candy like and artificial. The brown ale portion is ok. I have had better vanilla beers and brown ales. One is enough.

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Photo of Billolick
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Pours the expected brown ale brown, minor light tan head, leaves very minimal lace bits. Malty nose and I dont get any vanilla. Thin body wise, sweet and fairly off putting stuff. Malty, with more sweetness, vanilla wafting around in the rear, some chalky dryness late. Unimpressive and unenjoyable. Was gonna drain it, but added it to my marinating chicken instead...pass this one by IMHO

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Photo of sliverX
4.42/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep translucent brown with copper hints, thick tan head that took its time fading, minimal lacing
Smell nice heavy malt accent with a subtle yet very present vanilla hint, no hop presence
Taste follows the nose to a T, no hop presence
Mouthfeel medium to light in body, smooth a bit creamy even
Drinkability this is a wonderful beer and will be enjoying the growler and may be going back for another at only $9.50

Purchased growler at Flying Bison Brewing Company who contract brews this for Landmark. It is now contract brewed somewhere else, I believe Paper City Brewing Co. IIRC

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.82/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown body with a head that is creamy by cask standards and even leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma has some slightly pale, sweet malts, a bit of toasted character and a good dose of vanilla.

The flavor has the pale, sweet malts that have butterscotch flavors, and the slight toasted character is very slight. One flavor that is strong is the vanilla. The flavor tastes like natural vanilla extract, which is basically concentrated vanilla.

Medium in both carbonation and body, nothing to comment on really.

This is drinkable, but I could see the vanilla getting cloying after a bit.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got to try this at the 09 Syracuse Cask fest at Clark's.

A: Deep brown color. Clear. Head was large soapy looking bubbles. Some lacing.

S: Mostly warming vanilla. Almost afraid there might be too much by the smell.

T: Vanilla hit up front hard but not overpowering. Moved to a nutty taste on the back end. Decent balance. Could have been more of a "natural" vanilla taste though.

M: Slick...smooth

D: Very tasty. I could drink a medium number of these. After many I could see the vanilla getting too overbearing.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.39/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Ordered a bottle for a pre-Sox game drink at the Lower Depths. Poured into a pint glass. Muted brown color, hazy body, and not much head. Smelled like vanilla extract. Some people like that smell, others will not. Taste was interesting, but a bit too overpowering. I was looking for a brown ale with a hint of vanilla, but instead it's basically a vanilla ale. Brewer went a bit overboard with the flavor. It's an unusual beer to try, but it's a lot like sipping a Yankee Candle. Not a good beer to pair with a main course. Way too sweet, and there was no way I was going to have another.

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Photo of Imbiber1028
3.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy brown appearance, with a thin head that fades very quickly.

Smells woody and can definitely pick up the vanilla right away

The taste is pretty smooth and has good drinkability. Vanilla flavor is strong--I was in the mood for this so it was good at the time, but in general it might be a bit too much.

Would have it again if the mood strikes (and I can find it--thanks 303 Cafe in East Boston) and definitely like supporting my hometown area: this is labeled as a Syracuse, NY beer (Landmark Brewing)--although it is actually brewed by a Buffalo brewery (Flying Bison Brewery, I think).

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at either Party Source or Brilbeck's, Syracuse, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" beige head over the clear orangey copper brew. Head is promptly down to a swirly layer of uneven bubbles, with average to good lacing. Aroma is vanilla and grain. Taste starts nutty, with a touch of vanilla in the middle, and a balanced to bitter close. Caramel notes as well. Mouthfeel is soft over the tongue, and drinkability is good.

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Photo of Gmann
3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep brown color, with an average off white head that settles into a light cap. A very strong vanilla flavor, smells almost artificial. Some oak/woody and brown sugar characteristics as well. Some forced vanilla flavor as well which is mellowed by some milk chocolate and bready malt. The added vanilla flavor seems to kill this brew. While not as fake tasting as Leine's fireside nut brown, it seems to go down the same path. Seems to be a bit grainy in the end with a slight hop bitterness. Moderate feel with tingly carbonation, pretty much starts sweet and finishes sweet. There is a nice earthy quality to this brew that bring some balance but the added vanilla presence tastes not natural. Kind of a gimmicky brew.

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Photo of wiseguy142
3.34/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this at the 2009 CNY Brewfest and thought it was pretty tasty, decided to pick up a bottle. Bottle says brewed both with vanilla beans and flavoring, which is disappointing but economical. Probably would be about 10x more expensive if it was all vanilla beans so I guess I can't complain.

Pours a perfectly clear brown, like brown stained glass. Thin smoky head dies down fairly quickly but sticks around for some good, very solid lacing around the glass.

Aroma is a great mix of almost smokey brown malt, pure vanilla, and coffee. I think the coffee does it for me in terms of appeal and adds a great amount of complexity to the aroma. Like smelling a cappucino.

Taste is just a bit watery at first and too dextrinous. The coffee and roasted barley flavors aren't as apparent in the taste at all. Tastes a little more like watery vanilla syrup. Not bad, but could use some british-ifying with some gypsum, a tougher bite from the roasted malt, etc. Something to back up the great vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel is dextrins and nothing else. A little wrong for this beer I think. You'd also think that you'd get tired of the strong vanilla flavor after a while but it's not bad. Not too sweet and the flavor stays appealing throughout the beer.

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Photo of americanbeerbuzz
4.72/5  rDev +43.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It pours a light brown almost brown sugar color. The smell is strong vanilla but white chocolate comes through in the taste. Not much head and seems to taste more vanilla as it warms a bit. It has some roasty bite like the aftertaste of a coffee bean towards the bottom of the last few sips. I drank it very fast and will definitely drink another.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Almost no head even with an aggressive pour. What there was vanished quickly leaving only small dots of lace. Slightly cloudy mahogany color. Fairly dark.

Smells really good. A little roasted with more chocolate than vanilla, and dried fruit. Like chocolate covered raisins.

All of that comes through in the taste as well. A little char in the back, fruit, and maybe a slight nuttiness, with a definite underlying vanilla flavor. Sweet with only a hint of the toasted malt bitterness to balance. Finish reminds me of a vanilla candle.

Mouthfeel is a little thin & watery.

Pretty tasty if your in the mood for a sweet dessert-type beer, but I don't think I could do more than 1-2.

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Photo of WesWes
4.18/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a beautiful creamy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex array of malt scents ranging from pale and crystal to roasted along with a mild vanilla aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a nice roasted and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a really flavorful vanilla character. The taste is well balanced with sweet and dry components. It's also not overly vanilla in nature, but it's sure noticable. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It's highly drinkable and is a fine session ale.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.52/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up, saw it was local and wanted to support.

Poured a light brown, thin white head with poor retention. No lacing.

Smell is of roasted malt and vanilla. Vanilla dominates but smells nice.

Taste is very balanced. Vanilla dominates again, with a mild malt and hop presence. Mild spice and slighty bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light bodied, crisp, good carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I could throw a few back and this is actually a pretty good beer considering I thought it'd be a novelty beer.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- It has a somewhat deep hazy brown body. It had an average head that disappeared quickly to form average lace.

Smell- It was milder than I thought it was going to be. It has real vanilla infused with malt smell. Very nice without being overdone.

Taste- Vanilla like flavor hits you right off the bat but then it turns in to a roasted caramel malt flavor. It is sort of root beer like.

Mouthfeel- A little watery and light.

Drinkability- This is very mellow kick back and unwind beer.

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Photo of albern
3.62/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This strikes me as one of those novelty beers that are worth trying so that you will know what vanilla bean in a beer ought to taste like; or perhaps this will widen your repretoire when coming across a vanilla like flavor that you otherwise wouldn't be able to pin down. It is a beer for the purposes of education. That said, I'm not sure that I would come back to this beer again, and having more than one or two would be rather difficult. A six pack of this? Unthinkable. The beer pours a nice tawny brown with some off white head and a bit of retention. The aroma, well you guessed it, vanilla and lots of it. There is also a coffee aroma in this beer too. The aroma of the two pretty much overpower anything else going on underneath. The taste is a bit more complex. The beer has a very strong and noticeable vanilla cream flavor in the mid section and this segues to a slightly less sweet, perhaps a bit harsher nutty flavor towards the finish. Things get a bit drier on the back end. I'm picking up a bit of hop in the very end as well. The beer is fairly light bodied, and hard to tell if there is much of a creaminess to the beer, because the vanilla gives off a vanilla creme de menthe texture throughout. I wouldn't say the beer is watery though. The mouthfeel is light and the aftertaste fairly mild. I'm not sure if the brown ale underneath all the vanilla flavoring is any better than average. This is worth a try for the novelty of it all.

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Photo of RyanPB
2.76/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Effectively a high end Winter's Cask Bourbon. Pours a beautiful brown, small head. Can't really smell the Vanilla in the nose, but pleasant enough, almost toasted. The taste is the beer version of Dr. Pepper. The mouthfeel is excellent, but this really isn't drinkable. This is a fine experiment beer.

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Photo of weeare138
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hopdog...
Appears a hazy, dark amber with a fluffy, off-white head that quickly fades into a small cap. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla extract up front with carmel, and light citrus with caramel malt standing out.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas. Good idea but not overly complex. The vanilla and caramel seems like it's a tad heavy on the sweetness.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, light, thin finish, with sweet, sugar cane, and stickiness on the lips.

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Photo of SirSaranac
2.77/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, I found this at a local gas station, and noticed that not many people on BA had reviewed this. STEAL!

A- Ughhh... talk about obnoxious head. Pour one inch into your pint glass, and get 5 inches of mocha colored head. This took quite a long time to pour (and this happened at various temperatures, I experimented..). As for the beer itself: a nice dark yet clear brown... verrry carbonated, looks like rootbeer.

S- Nutty, roasted malt dominates the scent... quite pleasant. Coffee's present as well.
Slightly sour yeast scent also. Overall, the best aspect of this brew to be honest.

T- Nutty malt upon initial taste... and then quickly changes into a roasted/coffee that dominates that taste. There's an odd alcohol taste that pokes it's head in there, and seems rather out of place in the overall taste profile. I'd have to disagree with some of the other reviewers, I feel that the vanilla (although faint) doesn't blend well with the afforementioned flavors. Rather, it gives the brew a sight metallic flavor. This brew is by no means simple in its taste complexity, it just seems to lack cohesion.

M- Thin.... waaay overcarbonated

D- I like brown ales, but the combination of obnoxious carbonation and odd unbalanced flavors makes this beer rather undrinkable. I applaud the attempt however.

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Photo of WillieMoe
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Has a dark caramel color about it and has a large, foamy head, reminiscent of root beer.

S-It has a light aroma that is mostly a chocolate malt

T- Sort of choco-malt coffee taste to it, that is sort of bland.

M- It's not quite as thick as I expected, but not really watery either. The bitterness was subtle,and left a sort of fizzy stickiness in the mouth. Stays in the mouth and on the tongue, but does not really hit the back of the throat that much.

D- This one is definitely drinkable, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get another one.

Overall a nice little brew,that is worthy of a try.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.82/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle of this brew poured into a pint glass.
HOLY FOAM! Not a gusher but the first 1 oz of beer fills my pint glass 2/3 with creamy beige head. This could take a while.

The beer has a nice aroma, some roasty malt notes, maybe some almond nut hints and definitely some sweet vanilla. Could be hints of chocolate mixed in too.

First sip reveals a very fizzzy and tingly carbonation that dominates the texture of the beer. Body is a little thin but not really watery.

Flavor is mostly sweet malt with some chocolate and roasted malt mixing with hints of vanilla and brown sugar too. Flavor is not as sweet as expected as the roasted malt dominates the lingering flavor and leaves an almost bitter coffee note after each swallow.
there is no hint of ABV and the beer is very easy to drink. Slightly over carbonated IMO as this beer would be pretty nice on cask.
Worth a shot if you see it, but probably not something to hunt down.

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Vanilla Bean Brown Ale from Landmark Beer Company
77 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.