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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

511 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 511
Hads: 1,603
Avg: 3.24
pDev: 38.27%
Wants: 24
Gots: 309 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 511 | Hads: 1,603
Photo of predikit
3.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, settles in the glass black but brown on the edges. Head dissipated instantly.

Notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla take the aroma.

Taste is a bit odd. It falls flat and lifeless with a stale coffee bitter that doesn't go anywhere, then the other notes start to activate and it comes together for a great finish and aftertaste. The roasted coffee and vanilla make a good combination, makes me want to try adding some to my morning coffee.

Light bodied, fairly smooth, medium carbonation, fairly drinkable.

A slow, stuttering start to a strong finish, this wasn't bad at all.

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Photo of Bvrat5199
4.01/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great taste, color and smell. Is a bit watery for a stout out of the bottle. Had it on nitro and it became an outstanding beer, really changed the feel which is its only downside out of the bottle.

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Photo of ribby
3.1/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The vanilla smell is strong, but it does not blend well with the flavors of this beer. Low carbonation and relatively thin mouth feel. Not really sure how to hop such a beer, I think the trick is to Balance the sweet malt with the vanilla and roasted malt. This is not strongly hopped but still too much for the style. Mostly not malty enough.

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Photo of Slippery_Dud
2.47/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love dark beer. Porters, stouts, brown ales, etc... That being said, I don't think I will be buying this one again. This beer looks and smells great. But it tastes cheap and poorly brewed. It's very sweet which is not always a bad thing, but this tastes like it was sweetened by adding sugar or something to that effect. It tastes artificial. I was actually not very happy with any of the beers from this brewer. I bought a variety pack a few weeks ago. They all had sort of that artificial sort of taste to them. Poorly brewed with additives. When you try new beers, you win some and you lose some... Next.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
3/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stemmed ale glass. Pours a dark, coffee-like color with a very modest foam head. Vanilla stands out the most with a noticeable coffee flavor. A little below average for a porter.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.5/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a glass, pours a dark, coffee-like color. Almost no foam head.
Smells like a roasted coffee, with some hints or notes of vanilla.
Tastes a lot like a coffee, as the name implies. Not as strong, but not watery either.
Feels thin, very mild carbonation which explains the lack of a foam head to me.
Overall it's alright, tastes like coffee, didn't get much of a vanilla taste, though I could smell it.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big aroma is the best part. Pours dark with almost no head. Aroma does have vanilla notes amid the coffee. Flavor deteriorates, with just a thin, kinda boring java flavor. Porters should have far more complexity before adding things like coffee or chocolate. This would never stand on its own.

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Photo of Wer34truh
2.71/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A beautiful, yet fairly generic looking porter. Head is about 1cm.

With the exception of notes of vanilla and light spices this beer does not have a particularly noticeable smell.

Taste is subtle, with some light spices as an aftertaste. What taste s present quickly dissipates. Carbonation is very light, as is the beer in general. This is one of the most chuggable porters I've tried, which is not usually a characteristic of the style. Then once again, there isn't much in this beer that keeps you lingering.

This is a simple beer alright, and to some people that might have its charm. However, to me simplicity in a porter is not enough.

 647 characters

Photo of ScaryEd
4.24/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stout glass.

Pours a deep, dark brown with a solid caramel-colored head that dissipates rather quickly.

The smell is incredibly sweet, with vanilla doing most of the work. I also get notes of chocolate and roasted coffee.

The taste was surprisingly restrained given the sweetness of the nose. Don't get me wrong, this is still a very sweet beer, but not cloying or overpowering in any way. The vanilla is still the main event of this porter, but I get plenty of chocolate and coffee notes, as well as a slightly burnt, roasted flavor on the back end.

The feel is medium-bodied with light carbonation. There is no alcohol to be found on any sip, even as the beer warms a bit.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Given the nose I expected a beer that was simply too sweet for my tastes. And while this is still a very sweet beer, it's not overly sweet and the simple flavors are very effective for my palate.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.53/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very Vanilla forward it has a more tempered sweetness and is easy to drink. Light chocolate malt underpinning with an iced coffee flavor. There is some caramel and toffee notes but I struggle to find it. It's only 4.5% so my expectations were low but I won't disparage any one from giving it a shot.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on: 4/1/15.

Pours an opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla bean, vanilla frosting, and cocoa powder aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, vanilla bean, and burnt coffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of vanilla forward characteristics, but I am only getting coffee in the taste and the flavor comes across as burnt to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of HeislerGold
2.81/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottled on June 15th, consumed on July 27th.

Look: Great porter color. Quite dark with ruby hues around the edges. The pour into a shaker pint gave the beer a nice 1/3" head that left no lacing.
Smell: Vanilla extract dominates the smell of this beer. No coffee, no roasted malt, just vanilla.
Taste: More vanilla up front. You get the slightest hint of roasted malt and any bitterness in the beer likely comes from the coffee and not the hops. To be clear though, you don't really get a coffee flavor. You only get the bitterness. An ever-so-slight coffee bitterness lingers momentarily before all the taste quickly fades away.
Mouthfeel: It's a thin porter and a little too watery. The carbonation level seems appropriate though.
Overall: This beer is an underwhelming porter in every category other than appearance. It's not hard to find a good porter these days so don't even bother with this one.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.59/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

July 19, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Black, with some deep brown highlights. Somewhat thin. Light tan bubbles on top, with low retention.

S – Vanilla bean, more like vanilla extract. Sweet chocolate and light coffee bean. No real hop impression.

T – Vanilla bean and sweet chocolate, with a touch of light caramel.

M – Thin to medium-bodied with moderate-low sudsy carbonation. Sweet but not absurdly so.

O – Would love more “java” in this java porter, but the vanilla is excellent. Very drinkable. Paired great with brownie and ice cream.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.91/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Huge amount of vanilla, followed by coffee and roasty malts.

A: pitch black with off-white head , moderate retention.

T: Lots of vanilla, followed by coffee, sweet malt finish. No noticeable bitterness or hops.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation, smooth – a bit thin

O: While the vanilla and coffee provide a delicious sensory experience, the beer finishes so sweet I forgot it was a porter base. Moreover while enjoyable, finishes a bit thin.

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Photo of Cheeseboo
4.62/5  rDev +42.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoy this beer quite a bit. It's got a hint of vanilla flavor and is pretty smooth. The taste isn't bitter and there is no aftertaste like some vanilla brews. This is my favorite from Atwater.

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Photo of WhoKnew23
2.76/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

This beer is not awful, but it is a touch too sweet. However, this beer will always hold a place in my heart, as it is the beer that got me into craft beer. This is a good gateway for people who are afraid of dark beers.

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Photo of msromberg
4.39/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Raven, Port Huron, MI. Strong coffee and vanilla notes (as expected). More interesting than the average porter. Would definitely get this again.

 161 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The body appears jet black and is topped with a thick, dense, light tan head. The aroma oozes sweetness infused with cocoa, coffee, and vanilla notes. The taste follows along the same lines as the aroma with a touch of astringency and hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium yet watery.

This is a likeable, easy drinking beer that oozes sweetness and charred grain character. It feels a bit weak and lightweight for the style but otherwise delivers a distinctive and enjoyable tasting experience.

 493 characters

Photo of Dave1999
3.78/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black with a tan coloured head.

The smell is vannila, coffee, sweet malts. The vannila is very strong.

The taste is roasty malts, vannila, coffee. A little watery on the finish.

The mouthfeel is very light.

This was almost an excellent beer but was for a watery taste and watery mouthfeel.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep brownish black with a decent head and some fair lacing. Actually pretty attractive in the glass. I was able to distinguish some coffee in the nose; Taste was less bitter than I expected, particularly given the coffee. Caught one or two brief "glimpses" of both coffee and vanilla notes taste-wise, but not enough to really substantiate/establish those flavors throughout the pour. No discernable sweetness. In the end, I probably wouldn't rush to find/drink this one again, but felt it was far better (wrt bitterness balance) than others, that don't have java in the mix.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Looks nice in the glass-- as I'd expect the look of a traditional porter to be...
This one created a frothy but shot lived head.
The flavor was light kind of watery-- it lacked the "weight" of porters closer to my beer drinker's heart. The Vanilla and Java added interesting notes but their performances couldn't quite rescue the rather wimpy flavor demeanor and mouthfeel. I realize that porters tend not to be as muscular as a stout but this one bordered on perhaps a brown ale.

I think the beer's Okay, but there are lots of great porters out there-- and I have not come to a conclusion to what extent the supporting cast of Vanilla and Coffee add to the overall flavor interest of this beer. This porter is worth trying I just wouldn't make an epic trek to acquire a six pack...

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Photo of drunkenmess
4.51/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Pours light dark almost amber-ish in color with a light tan head. Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate, light vanilla. Taste is better then expected, sweet lightly robust yet still has that porter after taste along with with the vanilla n coffee bean taste. Very smooth n easily drinkable. On of my top choices

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Photo of Clockwork420
2.89/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Pitch black cream mocha two finger head reduced to one.

Smell was acidic, reminded me of bile or stomach acid. Cold coffee and dark malt.

Cold pressed coffee, smoke and dark malts.

Mouthfeel was thin, and barely carbonated.

Overall the smokey flavor and malts is balanced. But the smell and mouthfeel are seriously lacking. Sort of disappointing.

 351 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Nice black-brown color not allowing any light through, nice!.. Creamy tan head, minimal, though. Lacing is fizzy and average. Aroma is heavy with vanilla with just a small amount of coffee peaking through to the nose. Taste is, once again, heavy on the vanilla extract and somewhat masks the coffee flavor that I was expecting more of. Very creamy with just a touch of wateriness to it. Feels smooth going down and is quite sessionable for a porter. Ok, but not as complex or balanced as I would have expected and wANTED..

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

better than its ratings, but definitely not without its flaws. good not great, kind of what i have gotten from all of the atwater beers i have gotten to drink. the look is nice, almost nitro looking, with a creamy inch of thick light brown head, and a dark but silky shiny body. it smells like heavy vanilla, almost too much, more than is normal, and more extract than anything else.its hard to get too much vanilla in a beer, its such a tasty ingredient, but it comes across contrived here and definitely covers up whatever coffee is in here. full bodied and creamy feeling beer though, i like that aspect, its just the vanilla is candy sweet, and it makes the lushness of this a little less enjoyable. come coffee bitterness in the finish, but not enough to balance, and the chocolate aspect of the roast is also on the sweet side. not bad beer, but i think middle of the pack at best for the style. lacking nuance and balance for sure, but tasty enough, and good enough for very broad appeal. one and done for me though with this level of residual sugar.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 511 ratings.