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Vanilla Oatis | Ninkasi Brewing Company

very good
113 Reviews
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Vanilla OatisVanilla Oatis

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A delicious oatmeal stout with just enough hops to balance the copious quantities of dark roasted malts, oatmeal for a creamy smooth drinkability, and whole vanilla beans for a rich complexity. To achieve this higher level of decadence, we added in whole vanilla beans to the final stage of fermentation - the same process we use to dry hop a beer.

Added by Docer on 07-19-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 594
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: 16-oz. pint glass
From: Hooley’s in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $5.00 ($1 off with Happy Hour)
Purchased: July 22, 2015
Consumed: July 22, 2015
Misc.: N/A

Poured a black color with 1-to-2 fingers dark khaki head, frothy head when I got it. Above average-to-good amount of layered spiderweb lacing on the sides of the glass. Above average retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled toffee, caramel, nutty, bitter espresso, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and roasty oats. (Smell - 3.75)

First taste was very pleasant, getting vanilla bean, toffee and thick espresso. Also bitter coffee beans, caramel, roasty malts and light dry smokiness. (Taste - 4.00)

Full body. Creamy-to-slick texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long bitter finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was a really good beer for the style. Thick and roasty. (Overall - 4.00)

3.94 | 88 | B+

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Photo of richj1970
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with two finger tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Vanilla, roasted malts, and cocoa powder.

T: Rich dark chocolate, vanilla, light coffee, and roasted malts.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Slightly creamy.

O: Very nice oatmeal stout. Sometimes vanilla can come off artificial or medicinal, but here it is quite tasty.

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Photo of CHickman
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger creamy dark tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving decent spotty foamy lacing and rings as it went down; a creamy layer stick around on top for quite a while.

Smells of roasted grains, chocolate malt, vanilla, charred wood, cocoa powder, campfire ashes, Coco Puffs cereal, burnt coffee grinds and fresh piney hops. The hops come through strong at the end, adding nice balance and cutting through all the roast and char elements. The vanilla is not as strong as I expected considering the name, but it still smelled really good overall.

Tastes sweeter and more bitter with the burnt coffee grinds and fresh piney hops coming through for the bitterness, and then the sweetness combo of chocolate malt, vanilla, charred wood, cocoa powder, roasted grains, Coco Puffs cereal, light grapefruit, dry tea leaf, campfire ashes, chocolate milk, heavy cream and lactose sugar. The 50 IBU certainly shows up as does the roasted notes, earthy tones and char, but the vanilla was not the star as advertised. The vanilla beans must have melted away into the mash and let the hops replace them. The oatmeal, grains and chocolate malts give it a firm body that lets the hop bitterness play a nice role and counter the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, but almost too thin and watery with really solid roasted notes, a medium body that’s on the chewy side, and a bitter finish that’s kind of dry and yet sweet with a lot of chocolate and cocoa notes. It hides the 7% ABV perfectly and goes down extremely easy, the oats/oatmeal hitting the mark to make it a great oatmeal stout.

There is just enough hop/burnt coffee bite to mix well with the malt and oat base and keep the bitterness in the right range as the cocoa and light vanilla peek through to compliment the flavor and add nice accents to all the roasted malts. Although the vanilla component was a let-down, I think this was better than the base Oatis and more flavorful.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: black body with a mocha head a few fingers high; some lace motes left behind

S: vanilla clearly expresses itself above the dark roasted oat and cocoa aromas

T: vanilla is again at the front, riding atop bittersweet chocolate and hearty oat flavors; some espresso notes drift by in the background

M: smooth and light, modest carbonation, little bit of drying on the finish; nice finish and aftertaste

O: more smoothed out flavors courtesy of vanilla than their regular Oatis - I found it to be an improvement on that stout; vanilla influence will not disappoint.

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Photo of vladdswrath
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one always looks good in the glass, dark,full of cascading bubbles and a nice sticky head. The vanilla is heavy in both the smell and the taste, but it doesn't overwhelm the brew. It feels just about perfect. My only complaint is that it is a little light in the body, for what most would consider a dessert beer. Of course, the upside is that you can drink more of them in one sitting, if you want.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip. Largely pitch black brew, I might concede that this is uber-dark brown. Quick dissipating creamy beige head.

Aroma is a decent balance of dark roast, toffee/sweet, and fruity elements. Nose is more dry and roasted than the palate, which recalls a mixture of dark roast coffee, baker's chocolate, burnt molasses, bran flakes, and sponge toffee with hints of prune and red grapes. Impressive complexity of flavor. The vanilla is subdued and well-integrated with the rest of the package. I like the vanilla Coke comparison.

Body may be on the light side, and the expected smoothness and creamy texture is present yet uneven. No real matter. The flavors manage to carry all the weight. Moderate carbonation. Finish is dry and roasty, a little earthy and astringent. Some mouthfeel issues notwithstanding, this is a tasty stout well worth sampling. Great ester presence and the roasted elements are balanced out nicely by some sweet special effects. Down with disease.

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Photo of RJLarse
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Oatis Vanilla Stout in a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours an opaque black color with a thin tan head.

Smell is a vanilla and coffee aromas.

Tastes a little like a vanilla Coke. Roasted charcoal and coffee flavors with a vanilla flavor along side.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not cloying.

Overall a good stout. The vanilla is not over done.

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Photo of BigBry
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Craft Beer Market, more new brews recently available In Alberta.
Opaque black, with a foamy dark tan head. Foam settles to a floating film that never disappears leaving thin rings of lace.
Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and vanilla aromas.
Taste is much the same with cocoa, and charred flavors on the finish. I didn't get a whole bunch of vanilla (wish it was a bit stronger).
Lower level of carbonation, smooth with a slightly crisp mouth feel.
Looking forward to trying more from Ninkasi.

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Photo of mxchap
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Overall: Certainly drinkable, but lacking compared to many other oatmeal stouts. Vanilla presence is somewhat muted. [3.5]

Look: Pours a tall light-tan head with good retention. Lacing all the way around. Dark brown in color with some red highlights when held up to light. [5]

Smell: Vanilla (duh) and apples. Marshmallow, little bit of caramel presence (caramelized banana). [3.25]

Taste: Strong ester presence, along with some malty sweetness (and some artificial sweetness as well). Roasty and boozy flavor comes in at the end. [3.5]

Feel: Surpringly dry and hot finish. Seems off for what they were going for. Oats do little to impact the feel. Thin body [2.75]

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Photo of Lard_City
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oats and vanilla are very subtle. Mostly roasted malt with a light hop bitterness and little sweetness. Very nice but not what I expected from reading the label.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I guess a plain old oatmeal stout wasn't enough for the palates of Ninkasi. Add while vanilla beans to the process, and bam, Vanilla Oatis. Coming out of a 22 ounce bottle (thanks Tina!), on to the beer:

Vanilla Oatis is ink black colored and topped with a half-inch of head which slowly drops in size to a vanilla colored lace. A few specs of lacing retain around the glass. Speaking of vanilla, I smell vanilla in this beer. Light roasty, astringent notes too. Call the aroma bittersweet, I guess.

This vanilla oatmeal stout doesn't hold back goodness. The beer offers a modest array of notes, from molasses and brown sugar, to over-roasted coffee, to a touch of vanilla with creamy oats. Not only does the beer bring bitterness from the roasted character, but there's a pungent kick of hops towards the end. Vanilla Oatis' best attribute is its silky smooth texture and full body, which makes this beer feel as much as a milkshake.

Can this be used as a meal replacement? Maybe not, but it sure would be fun to use.

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Photo of arvidkoval
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very, very dark. Fantastic looking beer. Light roasted malt smell, overpowered by a nice sweetness. Roasty, sweet flavor with a vanilla finish. Silky, creamy, thick, decadent texture. This is a bad ass oat stout.

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Photo of arizcards
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine in early November for $5.49. No bottling date visible.

Beer poured black with a nice brown head upon the initial pour.

Nose is roasted malts with hints of cocoa and vanilla.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts with a touch of cocoa and a kiss of vanilla. It is nicely balanced by a decent hopping. Finish is dry.

Mouthfeel is medium and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a very nice beer, nicely enhanced by a slight touch of vanilla. Too much vanilla in a beer is not a good thing for my palate. Definitely one I would have again.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black body; head pours two fingers of frothy tan foam. Head dissipates slowly with a big, chunky lace left on the glass; I like it a great deal.

Smell: light roasty character with a light vanilla aroma. Not bad overall, but mostly rather low in intensity.

Taste: the vanilla is up front, followed by a classic oatmeal stout flavor, if a bit on the sweet side. The vanilla is good, but almost too much for me.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a decent creaminess for the style. Not bad.

Overall: I think the vanilla is just a little too much on this one. Mostly a good beer, but it could be dialed back a notch.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into an imperial pint glass.

Vanilla Oatis is nearly black in color with thick tan colored head. It has good retention and decent lacing.

Aroma is enjoyable with vanilla sweetness and roasted maltiness.

Flavor is balanced towards the bitter with strong dark malts, dark coffee, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in bodied but not as creamy as I was hoping for an oatmeal stout. Carbonation is a little high for my tastes.

Overall a delicious stout for someone who likes bitter beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Brown glass. 1 pint 6 fl oz. 2014 vintage. Purchased in Lone Tree, CO. Appealing label art/design. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

1072 O.G. 50 IBUs. 7.2% ABV.

Served chilled into a nonical pint glass. Expectations are above average given the brewery and style. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Gorgeously creamy, thick, and full. Soft-looking and supple. Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing oatmeal stout, but isn't unique or special. Looks more or less as it should.

AROMA: Oats, dark malts, cream, chocolate malts, vanilla, sweet milk chocolate, and lactose sugar. I like that the vanilla isn't overt, and the oat character seems lovely, but it could definitely be more evocative and intricate. Luckily, there's no off-character, overt alcohol, dirty yeast character, etc., and the hop profile (in spite of the ostensible 50 IBUs) is unnoticeable.

Aromatic intensity is mild at most.

TASTE: The vanilla isn't as overt and naked as I expected, and initially I find myself let down, but as I drink I come to appreciate it as a subtle addition to an already successful oatmeal stout. And fairly subtle notes of creme brulee emerge as it comes to temperature. Predictably, the malt backbone is dark malts and chocolate malts. Many oatmeal stouts don't actually have an oat flavour, but this one definitely does, bringing plenty of starchiness to the table. Light on cream. Mildly sweet. I do find some hints of lactose sugar and milk chocolate which are more appropriate for a milk stout than an oatmeal stout.

I certainly like it, but it leaves a lot to be desired - especially in terms of complexity/intricacy, subtlety, and nuance. It's a fairly well balanced brew which will definitely scratch your oatmeal stout itch, but there are absolutely more widely available brews out there that do the style better - and the sweetness/bitterness aspect of the balance is just off. Average duration, depth, and intensity of flavour, with a nice flavour amplitude.

It's not a hoppy brew by any means. No yeast character comes through, nor do any off-notes.

Critically, where's the requisite roasted barley note?

My biggest criticism is it's just too reticent and closed off. Its flavours just aren't that rich or evocative.

TEXTURE: Medium to full-bodied. It features a strange coarseness and dryness - particularly towards the end of the second act - which drags on the palate and frankly defeats the point of an oatmeal stout to begin with; oats are used to render an otherwise coarse and dry stout smooth and wet - like a porter. Not as creamy or soft as would be ideal, but sufficiently both. It's aptly thick and has a good overall presence on the palate. Well-carbonated.

This mouthfeel, while not ideal for the style, does complement the taste nicely, and the unexpected coarseness helps curb the usual slickness of the vanilla. It doesn't elevate the beer and there's definitely work to be done, but it's well-executed.

OVERALL: It hides its ABV well, and it's a nice oatmeal stout, but it does flirt too much with milk stout characteristics for my tastes, while not committing enough to the titular vanilla. It's a nice but unfortunately generic beer in the style from Ninkasi. I won't be buying it again unless it's the only good choice at a subpar bar, but I'm glad I tried it. Might make a nice introduction to the oatmeal stout style, but the discerning drinker will be unimpressed. On the high end of average.

High C

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Photo of nychas
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

On tap Roof of Wholefoods Brooklyn. I am tasting the vanilla right away with this one. After that is a very good sweetish stout. Has some body, nice and chewy, so not a porter.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, one of a whole new swath of Ninkasi products to recently broach the Alberta market.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, albeit with prominent basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some stellar sedimentary rock face lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, bready toffee, Cheerios, wet ash, bittersweet cocoa powder, ethereal vegetal vanilla, and burnt-seeming leafy, weedy, and earthy hops. The taste is semi-sweet caramel malt, dark chocolate, natural vanilla, oatmeal porridge, a subtle char, and earthy, leafy, and mildly grassy hops.

The carbonation is fairly low-key, just a minor burbling frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium weight, and generally quite smooth, with a thin creaminess trying hard to be heard. It finishes on the sweet side, the cocoa, caramel, and waning vanilla easily parrying the barbs of any lingering char or party-crashing alcohol.

A tasty stout, both experience enhancers (oats for body, vanilla for flavour) workin' it overtime. It is a tad strange, the vanilla not being associated with its usual barrel friends, but that's ok with me - what we get here is more of the real deal, for what it's worth. Worthy of checking out, if you like the well-made, adulterated (much love) American stouts.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Owl House in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark, deep black, with a foamy one inch head, and lots of lacing.

Smells more chocolatey than like vanilla, interestingly enough, but the vanilla's there, along with burnt sugar and roasted malt.

If you didn't tell me what this was, I might not have been able to pick it out as a vanilla oatmeal stout. I get the vanilla, but no more than a typical stout has anyway. It's much more chocolate and coffee forward, with the slightest smidgen of roasted malt to keep it from getting too sweet. There's seems to be something missing on the back end- kind of bland once the first wave of flavor hits.

This is quite creamy, with a full mouthfeel, and a medium body. There is a lower amount of carbonation. It is quite drinkable.

This is tasty, but I wish the vanilla was more pronounced, and the finish was a bit more complex.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice thick, dark brown color, nice carbonation, not much of a head, fizzy tan color, a small island and some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is nice, malty, with some nice vanilla notes, toffee, chocolate. The taste is very nice, malty, very nice vanilla note, with some toffee and chocolate thrown in. Medium body, nice little chewiness, with a slightly bitter/dry finish. Overall a nice brew, glad to see it here in UT.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours a deep ebony color with foamy tan head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of deep roasted notes with a touch of vanilla.

Tastes of the deep roasted notes with earthy bitterness and vanilla. Roasted notes lead off with espresso, dark chocolate, and some charred notes. Moderate amount of sweetness. Vanilla notes add in the middle along with some smooth, nutty oatmeal. Earthy and roasted bitterness add towards the end before a lingering vanilla note.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty tasty and worth a look.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a tumbler.

Appearance - Black body, a little transparent at the edges. Small off white head that doesn't last.

Smell - A ton of vanilla. Oatmeal. Some chocolate

Taste - Again, a lot of vanilla. Much roastier. Coffee. A bit of dark chocolate. Bitter roastiness lingers.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Medium body.

Overall - Vanilla keeps it interesting and elevates it.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler on 03.05.14.

A: Motor oil. Tan head.

S: Roasty malt. There's hint of vanilla.

T: Follows the nose.

M: Extremely smooth as an oatmeal stout should be.

O: This has a nice balance so it doesn't end up being too sweet. The vanilla takes the edge off of the roasty malt. This was a solid oatmeal stout.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Creamy and very light tan three finger head off the pour. Sits with a good thick cap and whip cream like appearance. Body color is a big dark walnut black with even a tinge of red highlights. A nice looking brew for sure.

Subtlety seems to hint on the nose. Mild coffee and cream like milky tones, a bit of sweet lactose maybe to round out. Very mild vanilla but an even softer coffee and cake like aroma permeates. Good solid milk chocolate adds to the mix. The creamy action hits nicely with the promise of something larger to come.

Palate delivers wonderfully. Creamy textured roast and chocolate with a silky body. Rich nice chocolate and light roast aromas wash over the mid palate. Very mild hop tinge of pine and fruit just so tiny but give a little play in the mid palate, finishing with a rich cream character no doubt from the oats. Vanilla character is a bit lost somewhat, but perhaps it is adding to the experience.

A real solid oatmeal stout for sure, missing some of the vanilla flavor it hints at, and a bit of hop unexpectedness, but as an oatmeal stout it sure delivers.

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Photo of velosuds
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Moderate pour from bomber into pint shaker glass produced a 2+ finger, mocha brown head. Aroma was very good, probably the best attribute, consisting of chocolate malt and vanilla beans. First impression upon putting to lips was an astringent harshness. First thought this was due to over carbonation, but the final pour was a bit thin and flat. Taste, by itself, was good and improved as it warmed. But, overall not well enough balanced, especially in the lacking mouth feel, to be top of its class.

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Vanilla Oatis from Ninkasi Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 113 ratings.