Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

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1,527 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,527
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 3.43
pDev: 19.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 256 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ypsifly on 10-21-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,527 | Reviews: 528
Reviews by gatorbreath:
Photo of gatorbreath
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is solid. Looks like an opaque fudge brown pour with a minimal, carbonated, offwhite/tan head..minimal lacing..

Smell is strongly of malt and java. Seems interesting at the outset.

Taste is different, for sure. There is an attack on the palate of malt and even picking up some hoppiness as well, the java is very prominent and the vanilla seems well disguised. I cant say I enjoy it too much, but there is a slight burnt/smoked taste to this that I am definitely noticing.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, not too carbonated, and slick.

Going to probably abstain from this offering in the days to come. It is good but I enjoy others more!


More User Reviews:
Photo of DandyD
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our team really likes this beer. The only thing we've noticed is the batches aren't consistent. Varying amounts of vanilla and coffee. Seems Atwater is trying to find the right balance.

Photo of Yancey82
4.19/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark and thick into a snifter. A half inch of creamy head lingers. It smells delicious and the taste matches.Not sure why the consensus rating is so low. Solid coffee porter

Photo of tectactoe
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bought a six-pack on sale at my local Meijer store. The beer is very dark, looks black in a dim room, however when placed under light, it shows a bit of brown. Faint tan head that doesn't hang around for very long and leaves little to no lacing on the glass. The beer looks "thin" - I've certainly seen better looking porters.

The smell is nice, however it isn't very powerful. Caramel and vanilla are the main things that hit the nose when you finally do get a nice whiff. Maybe a little bit of cocoa powder on the back-end, but surprisingly, there isn't very much coffee, despite being a part "java" porter. Somewhat disappointing, although the aroma is still pretty good.

Vanilla takes over most of the taste. You can sit there and probably pick out some grains and malts and maybe even a touch of coffee, but vanilla is mostly what you're tasting. Not complex at all, and I feel like more flavors SHOULD be here, but they went a little too far on the vanilla profile. The beer felt as thin as it looked and had quite a bit of carbonation (almost too much) that was a little bit distracting.

Overall, one of the better Atwater brew's I've had, but in my experience with them - that really isn't saying too much. Definitely worth a try at least one time, but there are certainly better vanilla flavored porters out there.

Photo of nohead02
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice novelty beer. Very dark with just a small head that disipates pretty quickly. Medium body. Nice aroma presages the full flavors, with only minimal hoppiness. As advertised, it comes through with a complex array of coffee and chocolate with a vanilla finish. My personal bias is toward hoppy beers, but this was a pleasant switch from the routine on a cold winter night.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Very dark, nearly black with a creamy light brown head. Good retention and moderate lacing.

S: Malts on the nose with a mild coffee aroma.

T: Mild but sweet maltiness is first on the tongue, with the light coffee flavors coming through just moments later. I couldn't specifically taste the vanilla in the brew but I can certainly pick out the effects - the general smoothness and blending of flavors is great. Nothing jumps out and screams for attention here, but that's kind of what makes this good. Everything plays together nicely and just has an enjoyable mildness to it.

M&D: Mouthfeel is generally good but just a little bit thin on the tongue after a few seconds. Don't get me wrong, I really liked this but compared to other porters, this one is just a little thin. As for drinkability, this goes down so smooth and easy that I could enjoy several in a row before considering something else. Give this one a try. Good stuff.

Photo of acelightning80
4.27/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance was dark, but with a reddish tinge when held up to the light.
Smelled of very strong vanilla with a slight hint of coffee.
First sensation of taste was a sharp almost sour feel on the tongue combined with a bit of bitterness. Immediately followed by a vanilla taste with a bit of coffee. As the beer lingers the vanilla and coffee flavors flipflop in intensity, almost like an inverse relationship. The beer finishes with a very smooth coffee taste.

Very good beer, easy to drink, delicious.

Photo of gleason_usmc
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tastes more like a vanilla milkshake than a beer.

Photo of RobertClevenger
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

S - 12oz bottle poured into tulip

A - Dark brown, nearing black, little to no light passing through, medium brown head

S - Strong vanilla, slight coffee and chocolate

T - Vanilla is strong up front, just a little trace of coffee and some bitterness that is reminiscent of dark bitter chocolate

M - Medium body, not too light, bordering on medium/heavy

O - A good, solid beer. I'd love to put down a sixer of this stuff. I would definitely buy it again.

Photo of fdrich29
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the few beers I was able to try while serving as a captain of volunteers at the American Beer Fest in Boston. Enjoyed it so much I contacted the brewery and distributors to see if it was available in Massachusetts. Found it at Kappy's in Wellington Circle and grabbed a six pack.

I love a beer that delivers what it advertises. The vanilla extract is very nice, not too sweet or over the top, but provides flavor. The sweetness mixed with the coffee beans makes this a simple, yet special beer. Highly enjoyable beer to drink.

Photo of banglin
4.65/5  rDev +35.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thin light tan head that is retained long after pouring. Rich dark color.

S: Very strong vanilla notes. Don't smell much of the java.

T: Java flavor upfront followed by vanilla. Somewhat chocolatey malt flavor.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation.

O: This is a very good beer with if you like the vanilla taste. It's something a bit different from the ordinary that is still refreshing on a warm day.

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.88/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served into a nonic glass from a 12 oz. brown long neck bottle with crimped-on cap.

Opaque,black slightist reddish hue when held to light. 4" thick, very creamy, head light tan towards white,dissapated quickly to 1/2 layer of foam.

Moderate aromas mostly of roasted coffee,a burnt wood aroma also,not a much of a vanilla scent if any. Nothing here to get me excited about tasting this beer.

Tastes of roasted coffee,chocolaty, tastes of smoke from a wood fire,a hint of vanillia.Clean,quick sharp bitter finish. Bits of tartness throughout.
Not a bad tasting beer, just very predictiable and uninteresting.

Meduim bodied, towards light for a porter. Smooth, good drinkability,easy going, just not a lot of reason for sessions. An average porter,nothing fancy,very predictable. Not a much of a vanilla presence as expected from the label. Not a bad beer. I think I just expected a little more from this offering.

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
3.22/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured into an Atwater Block pint glass. Pours dark brown with a tan half finger head that dissipates quickly, no lacing at all.

S-A hint of coffee but mostly just vanilla coming through in the aroma.

T- Fairly sweet with the vanilla being the strongest component. The coffee flavor comes through more than in the aroma but not by much. A slight metallic aftertaste.

M-A bit to thin and watery for my taste. Good carbonation.

D-Just too sweet to have more than one, two at most in a sitting. Not my favorite but I would buy it again.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.19/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle at about cellar temp poured into a pint glass. pours almost opaque dark brown color with a tan colored head. moderate head retention, hardly any lacing.

in the aroma i get mostly a wierd kind of metallic vanilla, almost tinfoil like smell. maybe from the vanilla extract. a little roasted malts, coffee, and some chocolate mixed around in there as well, but not very prominent.

the metallic vanilla flavor comes through in the taste right off the bat. again a little roast and some chocolate. finishes with some mild coffee flavors that have a slight bittering effect after the finish.

medium to light body, average carbonation. the tinfoil mouthfeel kinda ruined this for me. not too bad of a beer, but definately not what the label suggests, and at the same time, a little too much of what the label suggests. ill finish the other 2 i have and leave it at that.

Photo of MattyG85
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brownish black with a hint of ruby red. Lots of bubbles and about three fingers of tan head with good retention. Good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A pretty sweet and roasty aroma. Sweet dark roasted malts with big hints of chocolate and coffee. Also some hints of milk, vanilla, cream, caramel, toffee, and sugars. Very light hint of earthy hops in the background. Very malt forward and sweet.

Taste: Sweet and malt forward like the smell, but not quite as robust. Sweet roasted dark malts with good notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cream, milk, sugar, caramel, and toffee. Has a bit of a syrupy sweet flavor. Hops are very subtle and hard to notice.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, somewhat syrupy, and pretty slick.

Overall: A nice tasting chocolate and coffee flavored beer. Sweet but not cloying. Could of used a little more body.

Photo of ohmybock
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow, the reviews and flavors encountered on this one seem to vary a lot. I wasn't expecting much at all after trying the dunkel and IPA. (The dunkel had a slight sour taste while the IPA was "all foam" when I poured it in a glass. The IPA was disappointing and probably infected...who knows maybe the dunkel was infected too.)

After pouring the porter into my glass, I smelled a strong mix of coffee and chocolate, yet there was a stinky (unpleasant) aroma mixed in as well. However, as the beer warmed the unpleasant character disappeared.

This beer poured with very little the dunkel, but not at all like the IPA. Upon first sip, I thought this beer was going to be sweet. When it first hits your tongue, it gives you that impression, but then it turns quite dry in the finish with a strong dry coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavor. I don't get much vanilla, but it might be lightly mixed in there somewhere.

I didn't get any of the sour taste some others have encountered, but I can certainly believe it could be present in some bottles of this beer...especially after previously tasting the problematic IPA and dunkel.

Overall, I was quite impressed with this beer. It was much more drinkable than I figured it would be. I rarely drink porters or stouts these days, but this one was enjoyable and makes me somewhat sad I don't have another one to drink. I won't buy the dunkel and IPA again, but I wouldn't mind trying another porter. Give this one a try, and hopefully you'll get a "good" bottle.

Photo of natedoggsd
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

found this beer in a 6 pack at the grocery store here in cleveland. 12 ounce bottled poured into a pint glass.

appearance: a nice dark appearance, almost completely black, with a little brown showing in the light. Pours about a 1/8 inch of head that dissapates fairly quickly. It's a good looking beer.

smell: strong scent of coffee with hints of chocolate. Smells pretty much as advertised.

taste: beer is very robust in flavor with a strong taste of coffee to start, and the chocolate malts coming in late. I'm having trouble finding the vanilla.

mouthfeel: mouthfeel is rather thick and it stays with you for some time. I personally don't mind that at all, but for others it could be a negative.

drinkability: it takes awhile to get through one of these. Took me a few hours to get through 3. Not a session beer.

Overall, it's a pretty good beer. I'll try any porter I can get my hands on, and while this isn't among the best I've had, it's not bad at all, and I'd definitely try it again.

Photo of vince_arch_beer
3.76/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(Appearance) Very dark, almost black in low light. Mid-20s SRM.

(Smell) Can absolutely smell the vanilla within, but the scent that reigns over all is the roasted malts that show through pretty well, at least to the nostril at first whiff. Very little coffee aroma at first smell, had to go back a few times to actually dig into that scent.

(Taste) Not heavy, which I enjoy because some Porters can overdo their depths. Once again the malts are the primary flavor here only slightly backed by the subtleties of vanilla and a weaker coffee backbone. It's very crisp for a porter, perhaps because it has a relatively low ABV.

(Mouthfeel) Very nice carb. Smooth. Easy to drink, besides the depth of the malts it wouldn't be hard to drink a few of these.

(Overall) Not a bad beer. Definitely not worthy of a case, but for once if I got this in a variety pack as a Porter I think I'd be alright with it. Overall, I do think it's missing some complexity, the vanilla and coffee is certainly subtle (I appreciate that it's not overdone) but it absolutely could have been played up some more.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

These Atwater brews are just hitting the Pittsburgh market and so far I'm not impressed, they are a bit more expensive than other 12oz bottles too. Appearance has a dark cola brown hue with some red highlights forming around the edges of the pint glass forms a thin tan moccha colored head leaves behind minimal lacing. comes heavy with the vanilla, light coffee seems like some extract was utilized in this one no natural whole beans here very sweet mild chocolate roastiness minimal herbal hops. Taste is syrupy cloying with the vanilla extract character with a good amount of bitterness to somewhat balance it between the mild hops and dark roasts finishes with a slight lactic tartness that I didn't care for. Mouthfeel is medium bodied lighter carbonation does leaves that syrupy feel on the palate. Drinkability...seriously I will pass just make a normal stout if your going to kill the base beer with extract, not a huge fan of this one.

Photo of chinchill
3.34/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle; date notched (bottled) July 2013; from Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours very dark reddish-brown, clear, with a bubble and weak beige head. Medium-light carbonation is OK but the body is too thin.

Aroma: unbalanced mix of dark roasted malts and vanilla, with vanilla dominant and coffee barely present. Pretty good smelling nonetheless.

Flavor: follows except with the vanilla seeming even more disproportionate and now this is mildly objectionable. At least it is a natural vanilla flavor. Eventually, the vanilla recedes at bit allowing more coffee and a dose of dark roasted grain to join the vanilla in the lingering aftertaste. Even here, it lacks dark roasted malt flavor, however. Mildly sweet.

O: recommended for fans of dark vanilla ales. Don't expect much coffee aroma or flavor.

Photo of cooperkeg
4.2/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was given to me by a friend telling me I needed to try it. I was impressed with it's color deep and black. Before I could even bring the glass close I got a wafting of vanilla. I thought it was a little lean in the mouth. I wanted more of a round mouthfeel, but the flavors of molassis, vanilla and roasty chocolate malts more than enough to turn me in to a fan. A great choice as an after dinner beer or to pair with dessert.

Photo of Brenden
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours the typical deep brown with lighter brown highlights of a porter. The head is about one finger and fairly tight, and the foam remaining after it dissipates is steady and strong, leaving light lacing.
The smell is most strongly of vanilla with a fair malt backing. There's a touch of chocolate as well. It's light, but not macro light.
Vanilla hits the tongue first, but always accompanied by the roasted malt flavor. As to those who say they can't detect the coffee presence, well, I've been developing my palate for years and have proven it plenty of times to myself; therefore, I trust my palate, not yours. It's there. The vanilla does have a light saccharin tinge in the aftertaste.
The body is light to medium. The feel is not heavy, but not dreadfully light, either. It should be somewhat sturdier.

I'm not going to say this one's bad simply because it's Atwater, no matter how some people see it.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, deep, dark, almost opaque black color (except for the few speckles of red highlights) with two full fingers of oat-meal-colored head that slowly dissolved into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked dark bread, mixed with lots of roasted coffee, caramel, and of course vanilla.

Taste: A lot like the aroma. Very strong notes of toasted malt, roasted coffee beans and vanilla, followed by some good caramel-like sweetness. Not much in the way of hops, or any bitterness from the coffee. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy. Pretty smooth as there’s hardly any carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 5.5% there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty tasty beer. Good flavors of malt and coffee and vanilla, all nicely balanced into a pretty tasty beer. Nothing spectacular, but recommended to try once for any porter fans out there.

Photo of rdilauro
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Since stouts are my favorites, just step down a notch and when I was brewing my own, porters were my choice.
Unfortunately, we had this one from the bottle, so I could not really detail the look and appearance of this brew, so I remained neutral. But even from the bottle, you could get generous amounts of coffee swirling around the bottle as if you were ready to have a nice cup of vanilla java coffee!

The taste did not disappoint me, but I just felt it was a bit on the light side. This might be unfair of me, since, I understand porters in general are a little lighter than stocks. I've been drinking so many stocks lately, that I may have made an unfair compassion.

But still, even on the light side, this was full of flavor. The vanilla didn't come out as much as the strong coffee, taste and the java was so smooth.

Photo of Ryanm1
3.25/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Drank straight out of the bottle poured a little out to check out color and appearance. Pours black with a slight amount of white, with a tint of brown, lacing. Dissipates quickly. Not many bubbles appearing in the actual body of the beer. Smell is overpoweringly vanilla. I can't pick up much of anything else. A coffee flavor fills the back out the throat when drinking then just like the smell an overpowering vanilla taste, probably because "vanilla extract" is used according to the bottle. It taste like just that, someone poured a bit of vanilla extract in the beer. Slight amount of malts, no real appearance of bitterness.

As a side note I let this beer sit for a couple of minutes after opening and the carbonation was almost completely gone.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,527 ratings.