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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
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1,459 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,459
Reviews: 506
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 19.88%
Wants: 18
Gots: 211 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% 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: 1,459 | Reviews: 506
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4.25/5  rDev +24.3%

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2.75/5  rDev -19.6%

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3.25/5  rDev -5%

Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of my father-in-law. Served in a tulip.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a very bubbly tan head that is very bubbly and recedes quite quickly. Very little lacing and a slight bubble ring around the edges. The nose is a lot of sweet, chocolatey roast and a bit of vanilla. Pretty decent, although the vanilla is a bit artificial.

The flavor is quite a bit of artificial vanilla along with some chocolate and mild roast. The body is thin and slightly astringent. Low carbonation. Nose isn't bad, but this is a bit fake and gimmicky.

Photo of metter98
3.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a thin white head that faded away and completely disappeared. No signs of carbonation are visible.
S: There are moderate aromas of vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some notes of roasted malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The lighter bodied nature of this beer makes it quite easy to drink compared to other porters.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark coffee brown color with a thick beige head that dots the pint glass with suds

Smell: Smells of mocha, more milk chocolate than coffee; vanilla aromatics are clearly apparent

Taste: Starts with a mocha vanilla flavor that builds in coffee bitterness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweeter flavors dry out, leaving a residual sweetness from the vanilla on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not as challenging as other coffee beers, this is nevertheless an enjoyable brew that I liked better than most of the other reviewers to date

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -26.9%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.62/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And the new brews keep rolling into Central Kentucky. Found this one at Wines on Vine (go figure.) This seems to be a beer with a lot of promise and potential... this means that it really isn't there yet. Opens up with a burst of roasted grains and coffee, with back-up notes of cocoa and cream. The color is a nearly opaque, dark brown with a somwhat fizzy head retention. Robust looking, jut a bit flat. The flavors are bold charcoal and coffee, but little after that. The vanilla is barely detected and there seems to be an overbearing coffee / fermentation sourness that won't let any other nuances shine enough to make a difference. The beer seems under-malted, which hurts the flavor roundedness and textrues. The beer is fast fleeting, leaving a powdery, dry coating and lingering coffee bitterness. The beer is intriguing and certainly worth the try, but would buy many more if improved.

Photo of Knapp85
1.5/5  rDev -56.1%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.8/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Charred chestnut that falls just short of opacity (it's an overcast morning out there). The upper half of the pint glass is filled with a frothy, caramel nougat colored head that looks pretty good, both after the pour and as it deflates.

Most coffee-added beer smells like freshly brewed java. This one smells like that as well, but there's also an undercurrent of burnt coffee grounds. Thankfully, it isn't prominent enough to ruin things. I don't appreciate the vanilla extract at all.

Vanilla Java Porter sounds good on paper. In liquid form, however, it doesn't measure up. Because I've already had Atwater's Shaman's Porter, I can't say that I'm surprised. My hope was that the previous beer was an outlier. Instead, it looks like we have the beginnings of a trend.

First of all, VJP is significantly undermalted. As a result, there's no roasted barley flavor, no chocolatiness, nothing other than weak iced coffee to occupy the taste buds. Along for the ride is a mild, saccharine-like sweetness that mingles with a trace of dark fruity tartness. While the vanilla extract is now identifiable, it certainly isn't bold enough to earn inclusion in the name.

The mouthfeel can only be described as thin fading to watery. I'm not thrilled with the amount of carbonation either (too low). Even an ideal amount probably wouldn't have earned an average score.

Michigan is overrun with good-great breweries. After having had two of their offerings, I feel safe in saying that Atwater Block isn't among them. Not even close, really. Vanilla Java Porter needs a complete overhaul. Adding some malt to the hops, yeast and water would be a good place to start.

Photo of mikesgroove
2.68/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The third beer of the night for me and its already 7, hmm. Not sure I am gonna make it through the 12 I wanted to, but no worries, its a lovely night. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/29/2010.

The pour was a bit thin looking from the start. Nice dark brown in color but it seemed to be lacking in the overall look. Not really very thick with loads of light shing through from the start. Small head of tan capped the top. The aroma was artificial vanilla and candy like aromas. Hints of almost cherry, but more very, very fake vanilla and java. Thin, very thin feel and flavor. It just never really reached any kind of level that it should have. Watery feel with a vanilla extract flavor. Overly sweet, almost sickingly so, it just really did not do it for me at all.

Overall I would have to take a pass on this one, just not worth it again.

Photo of womencantsail
3.01/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with an initially large off-white head that dies down to a thin ring.

S: Smells good at first. A lot of vanilla, a little bit of acidic coffee, and quite a bit of chocolate (that's actually the best part). There is some roasted malt and a bit of metal.

T: A heavy dose of roasted malt and coffee. The (fake) vanilla flavor is there and rather pungent as well. A touch of sour cherry on the back and as well as some metal.

M: The body is medium with a medium to high carbonation.

O: I could see this actually being pretty decent if it wasn't for that sourness and metallic character.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.53/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with a fizzy, short-lived head.

Smell: The aroma smells of gas station coffee left to scorch upon the burner for far too long. Oh, and with just a wisp of vanilla.

Taste: More of the roasty low-grade coffee with a light sweetness. There's really never more than just a hint of vanilla extract. Finishes watery with a bit of sourness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Watery. Harshly spritzy.

Drinkability: Not overly pleasant, either in taste or aroma. Also, painfully overcarbonated.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.04/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Ah, one of the first bottles I ever bought at a Total Wine during my NoVa days has come here to the Midwest for me to try again. Let's do this shit: It pours a clear midnight sienna topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises vanilla, light buttercream, light toasted caramel, and a hint of marshmallow. It's not that things smell off, they just smell somewhat artificial, somewhat ill-fitting. I dunno. The taste holds notes of light roasted malts, fake vanilla, light vinyl, and a twinge of toasted marshmallow. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a thinly fluid feel. Overall, this stuff has definitely gone downhill since I first tried it those few years ago. It's overly thin, thoroughly artificial, and even a bit plastic-y. Quite a downer, folks...

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I won't do my usual review for this beer as I don't think it really needs or deserves it. It's an OK, "flavored" beer that appears to be fairly popular, and if that's what sells, then dammit, sell it! Of course you don't even need to sell it if people like it, so OK. AND, it is helping to get people into craft brewed beers so who's to complain?

It's just that to me, it seems like their regular porter with coffee and vanilla flavoring added. And that's OK, for sure, but it's not really balanced. The vanilla appears in a saccharine way, and the coffee is somewhat acidic, or 'burnt'. All of that vanilla extract and brash coffee atop a very basic porter... it just doesn't work. There's not enough girth to balance or support the additional flavors, and what you end up with is a mis-aligned triangle of flavors that stagger limp-legged and one-foot-dragging across your palate until it finally leaves you, slightly dazed and guessing at what just conspired with an oddly vanilla-chemical and acidic-coffee finish left in your mouth. It may not be exactly "out of balance", but it's certainly dis-jointed.

Drinkable for one, but not two.

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of nickfl
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of ligh brown head on top of an opaque brown-black body. The foam settles slowly and leaves nice lace

S - A fruity aroma of cherries and plums with some light mocha coffee notes.

T - Light coffee with fruity cherry notes and some vanilla sweetness up front. The cherry mixes with some chocolate and caramel notes in the middle before fading to a finish of moderately sweet fruit, sweet chocolate and light clean coffee notes balanced by light malt bitterness. Lingering chocolate and coffee notes darken in the aftertaste and become something more like what I originally expected from this beer.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - This is quite a bit different from what I expected. It has a distinct cherry note with only moderate coffee and minimal vanilla, and I almost wonder if the bottle I bought isn't a mislabled cherry stout. It is, nevertheless, a very pleasant and drinkable beer with a nice balance between the fruit/malt and coffee bitterness.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.73/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from mymrnngjckt, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted coffee beans, vanilla and dark malts.

T: The taste is malty and smoky with strong flavors of vanilla and coffee. There's not much of a hops presence, but it's really not needed in this type of beer. The flavors get more harmonious and creamy as the beer warms a bit. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it's not the type of beer that I would want to pound down several of, but it's a good enjoyable beer to sit and relax with and drink just a couple.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.44/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.26/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black with a tan head that is very airy and bubble filled. Nose is strongest with roasted coffee tones. Mild vanilla there yes. Wow. What a weird flavor. On the first swig, I got such an oddly sweet hit that I didn’t think I would be able to have another sip, let alone finish the whole damn thing. I hoped it would turn into something else as time went on, but it didn’t. Way too tangy. Just sings a bit too high. Feel is okay on the liquid and it has a pretty high carbonation. But overall this is one unbalanced beer. Such a weird tangy thing going on that I just can’t hang.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,459 ratings.