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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,312 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,312
Reviews: 468
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 20.35%
Wants: 14
Gots: 123 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ypsifly on 10-21-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,312 | Reviews: 468 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of theBubba
1.78/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured a deep amber, not quite root beer color into my snifter with a decent but not long lasting head. A little lace remained to the end.

Smell was mostly vegetable (artichokes and brussell sprouts?) with a slight hint of vanilla.

Taste was mostly sour. Lambic, if you'd like to be polite.

Mouthfeel was thin and flat.

Drinkability? My first is my last. Got suckered in by the Vanilla Java Porter name (I like all three). This is neither of them. More like a bad home brew where the wrong spores got into the wort.

theBubba, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of DannyDan
4.2/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out a nice blackish-brown body with a thin tan head that has decent lacing and good retention. The smell is a very strong vanilla with some slight hints of coffee and chocolate. The taste is some hops up front with vanilla in the middle and some hints of coffee and chocolate at the end. The aftertaste has some chocolate and coffee taste, but mostly vanilla. The mouthfeel is very smooth, creamy and pleasant on the tongue, lips and cheek. This is a nice beer to drink and I just finished my first of many Atwater Vanilla Java Porters.

DannyDan, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
3.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours deep dark brown and looks black in my glass. moderate off white/mocha head that lingers for a bit

S- STRONG vanilla scent, not sure if its too much, but its there. light coffee and chocolate at the end, very sweet

T- definately getting the vanilla up front, but not as overpowering as i expected it to be. much like the scent, the coffee and chocolate sneek up at the end. theres an aftertaste thats a little syrupy, and vanilla extract.

M- a little bit light for a porter but not too bad, little to no carbonation makes it smooth on the tongue. at times theres a weird feel on my tongue much like the last bit of a sugar free sportsdrink. confusing me

D- this beer is drinkable. id like to have another one to compare it. decent taste, good feel, but a few odd characteristics.

Gushue3, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of tbrown4
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sister in law brought 4 over in a mix 12-pack for Christmas dinner. Have had a few since then.

A - Pours pitch black with slight off white head. Slight spotty lacing

S - Roasty, sweet and tart aroma.

T - Pretty intense roasted flavor with a slight hint of vanilla. Almost tastes artificially sweet. Slitter bitter, almost sour aftertaste

M - Thin, just enough to lightly coat tongue.

D - I could easily put this back for a few hours due to alcohol content. But, not sure I'd want to as the flavors don't keep me coming back.

tbrown4, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of seedsofchaos
3.83/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A noisy beer that settles down almost immediately. When poured it was as if I had just poured a fresh drink of root beer and the beer actually looks about the same. The thin head dissipated before I could even set down the glass. Opaque, this brew is a solid coffee brown with enough SRMs to get it almost to black but not quite. Carbonation dies down quickly and this beer kind of just sits and looks at you... A bit of a let down in the appearance arena.

A quick sniff gets me excited again as the allure of nutty lightly roasted coffee and sweet vanilla entices me to inhale deeper. Caramel malts are dominate behind the light coffee and there's almost a cream-like element there as well.

Super light mouthfeel makes me definitely think more along the lines of soda but where's the carbonation? I can't say this is a porter but if someone told me there was a new sweet Southern Tier cappuccino/frappacinno this would come to mind as what it should taste like... Except with more body necessary. Caramel and toffee fill the taste with very lightly-roasted coffee. Simple, delicious but severely lacking nonetheless.

All in all, this is definitely enjoyable but a porter it is not. I'd more think that is something one could drink quite a few of after a night out. The "all-American Cosmopolitan young lady's clubbing afterparty beer" anyone?

seedsofchaos, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of StoutHunter
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I got this bottle in an Atwater mixed twelve pack. A porter sounds like a good way too start the night off so lets see how it goes. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a pint glass.

A- This beer pours a super dark brown, almost black. It had two fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thing ring that stayed the rest of the time. It also had some nice lacing.

S- The aroma is nice and roasty with a mix of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.

T- The taste has all the great components from the aroma and are blending together very nicely, this brew is also very smooth. The hops are detectable at the end and help tie everything together, also no alcohol is detectable.

M- Medium bodied and slightly over carbonated.

D- I could probably drink two off these before the flavor gets old, drinkability is good for its style.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good brew. The flavors were balanced nicely and as advertised. All in all this was the best beer in the Arcadia mixed twelve pack, I would for sure buy this beer again.

StoutHunter, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
2.73/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this in a growler from Champs Sports Grill in State College, PA

A: Dark, but almost opaque, maroon pour with an initial tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves some lacing.

S: Most prominent on the smell is the vanilla, it masks roasted malts and a hint of coffee.

T: The taste is pretty disappointing. Really watered down. Hints of coffee and roastiness up front, and just a slight taste of vanilla on the aftertaste.

MF: Much lighter than I thought it would be. Nice amount of carbonation.

D: The alcohol is completely masked and it is decently drinkable, but man I wanted more from this.

russwbeck, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of Bounty628
3.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vanilla Java Porter is brewed in the American Porter style and has an ABV of 6.0% that was somewhat surprising because the taste of the alcohol was quite nicely muted behind the java of the offering.

The porter pours a brown to maroon consistency and the head that was present was about one finger thick and was a light tan. The head did not maintain itself throughout the offering. There was a moderate amount of carbonation in the pour.

The nose was the largest disappointment of the offering as with a vanilla java name I was really expecting some great things. However, the nose was about as light as one could imagine and there was just a hint of roasted coffee that came through in the nose. Most porters try to pack as much roasted or malted notes as possible into the nose but with this offering that just is not the case. There was absolutely no vanilla that came through in the nose and the weakness of the nose was a good reason to be concerned with the taste.

Moving on to the taste, fortunately the lackluster nature of the nose did not hold true with the taste and Atwater redeemed themselves here. The vanilla is quite noticeable in the taste but it fortunately has a rather natural taste and does not maintain a syrupy or synthetic vanilla taste. There is a good amount of roasted coffee in the taste and the pairing of the two holds up quite nicely. Some dark chocolate also works its way into the taste and the combination of the flavors really gives way to a dynamic taste.

There is a good mouthfeel with this porter and the right amount of carbonation really serves this porter well. There is a rich yet not heavy mouthfeel and the roasted nature of the taste really hangs with the tastebuds giving the mouthfeel a full and complete nature.

Some might argue that porters do not maintain the same drinkability as perhaps a lager or an ale but I would argue that drinkability does not just boil down to session drinking but instead focuses on the overall drinkable nature of the beer. This porter could serve as a nice session beer or it could stand alone as a good beer to pair with a nice meal. Ideally this beer would go nicely with either a smoked chicken or some grilled BBQ meat.

Bounty628, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of philbertk
3.13/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Vanilla Java Porter--Malt Beverage brewed with Coffee Beans with Natural Flavor Added (Vanilla Bean Extract)--2007 12 oz. Bottle. 5.50% to 6.0% ABV--12 to 16 IBU's. depending on source (BOMC, Bottle Label, Web Page, Rate Beer) (2.0 / 5.0) Porter--Espresso. Beer of the Month Club Selection December, 2007. Thin foamy lacy tan head. Cloudy dark bronze edged black color. Aged sediment. Mild vanilla espresso roasted mild hop front. Thin mild sweet roasted chocolate coffee Porter body with mild vanilla hint and aged sour fruitiness. Dry sweet clean citrus end. Sampled 4/25/2010. Aged Poorly. Sour 1st Bottle. Next two were OK, but still not fresh. Bad Sample Selection?

2009--12 oz. Bottle. 6.00% ABV. 14 IBU's. (2.0 / 5.0) Beer of the Month Club Selection February, 2009. Foamy bottle & foamy lacy tan medium head. Loose sediment Clouds dark bronze red brown color. Mild hop vanilla espresso fruity front. Thin mild sweet roasted fruity mild coffee Porter body. Slightly sour easy citrus fruit mild hop end. Poorly Bottled & Aged. Fruity Sour notes disguise everything else. Sampled 4/28/2010.

Atwater Block Brewery--Wake Up & Smell the Beer!--Vanilla Java Porter--Malt Beverage brewed with Coffee Beans with Natural Flavor Added (Vanilla Bean Extract)--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 6.00% ABV. 15 IBU's. (3.5 / 5.0) Creamy dense lacy mocha coffee head. Opaque dark black brown color. Rich mocha milk chocolate mild hop front. Dry roasted chocolate vanilla thin coffee crisp mild fruit thin biscuit body. Thin weak end with light chocolate mild hop slightly fruity flavor. Weak coffee flavor after explosive mocha front. Sampled 12/28/2010. Malt of the Earth Beer of the Month Club Selection Received 11/29/2010.

philbertk, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 3/26/2010. Bottle thanks to cheapdark. Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of vanilla mostly with some coffee and sweet roasted malt. Flavor is also predominantly vanilla and lactose. Pretty decent although the body is weak. Nice vanilla notes and much tastier than I had expected!

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of AScribjr
4.33/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice beer atwater brewery puts out. A nice dark color with minimal head. The small as you bring the glass to drink is a very strong notes of vanilla,but not a bad thing, because the firdt taste is one to remember.I've had the bottle and this beer can only be enjoyed on tap. drinkabillity is ok but after 3-4 your looking for a new taste. Enjoy this is a good winter beer.

AScribjr, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Washington House, Sellersville, PA

Notably, my experience with this beer on tap and in the bottle was considerably different. LOTS more character and flavor on tap, and this review is what that describes.

Dark brownish black, opaque, with little to no head. Rich vanilla, chocolate, and coffee in the nose. Very smooth tasting. The vanilla extract overpowers all, and in a good way, with not much else coming through except undertones of sweet dark malts and a bit of coffee and cocoa. Medium body, not very thick or heavy at all. Goes down smooth with no harshness, and little to nothing in the way of hoppiness or bitterness. Nice beer.

Rifugium, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of Lauthaha
4.4/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From notes)

Appearance: Pours from the tap a near-opaque mahogany color. Head is frothy and rich, and leaves moderate lacing as it recedes.

Smell: High-quality pipe tobacco, vanilla bean and a rich malt nose. Perhaps a touch of hop action here as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer is thick, and coats the mouth with medium carbonatoin. Bitterness from hops and sweetness from the vanilla toy playfully with your taste buds. An intense kind of pipe tobacco feeling again here, didn't notice it when I had it in a bottle. Lots of bitterness, and a smooth finish. nice.

Drinkability: Too heavy to have more than two or three of, but definitely one of the better beers on tap locally.

Lauthaha, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of TheBrewo
2.05/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The pour produces a cola colored brew, with a half finger high head of light beige. There is some carbonation visible around the edges, with no sediment or anything of note. The head dies down quickly, leaving little lacing as it goes. The primary components of the aroma are malts, coiny metals, and a curious heat, as if a jalapeno pepper was dropped into the glass. There are also mild hints of vanilla and dark coffee, as boasted by the title. The taste begins with malts and copper. This metallic taste is comparable to putting a penny in your mouth, and working it around. The middle is sweeter, and a bit tangy. This quickly falls to sourness (like sour cream), that leaves the mouth with a similar aftertaste. Again, as in the nose, there are also minor hints at vanilla and coffee, but neither really takes center stage. The body and carbonation are both light. There is little coating from the brew, and the mouthfeel is otherwise dull, like drinking flat, bitter soda. The abv is within range, but the curious flavor profile makes this beer slower drinking.

Overall, what was best about this beer was its appearance. While it does have the main attributes of a porter visually, it falls way short in other aspects. What was most offensive about the brew was the overly metallic (and spicy pepper!!) qualities throughout the aroma and taste, making this beer less than desirable.

TheBrewo, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of amcmaho1
2.38/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Freebie beer provided by my roommate. Tried on a whim, without any real great expectations.

Appearance: The beer looks really good. Nice sized white head which lingers shortly, leaving small bubbles and minimal lacing. Dark brown appearance, though redder than i would have imagined. For being a "java" porter, i was expecting an overall darker appearance.

Smell: And this is where things take a turn. The initial smell is of imitation vanilla extract, acrid, uninviting, and unnatural. There is some roasty malt backing, but it's unfortunately overpowered by a cheap cream soda like smell. most importantly, wheres the java?

Taste: There is the definite taste of imitation vanilla mixed with some metallic nodes; not the greatest combination. Stale coffee only slightly exposes itself towards the end of the taste, and the aftertaste is slightly more coffee-infused, though still lacking. The hop profile is what holds it together.

Mouthfeel: A bitter, malty, cream soda with unnatural flavors. Overly carbonated, dry finish...i'm just not feeling it. Definite drain pour...

Drinkability: It was free, and still not worth the investment of time. Where i am a huge fan of coffee porters and stouts, this specimen failed to interest me in any way. Low drinkability...

amcmaho1, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.43/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of HiLLWiLLiam
5/5  rDev +47.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deeelicious is the one word I can come up with when asked to describe this humble brew. Of all the words that can be used to describe a drank, it is the most fitting. This beer gets a ten on the chug-scale (ladies), and the caffeine buzz is delightful. Sip hard....

HiLLWiLLiam, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of tubacharlie
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very dark brown with ruby highlights, this brew has a good sized head of a khaki tan color, somewhat rocky, with good retention and some stickiness.

The scent of vanilla is discernable in the nose, with burnt caramel accents. A mouthful of slightly sweet roast coffee hits the palate, with more pronounced vanilla flavors in the middle and afterglow. Bunches of malted barley in between. Not quite as thick as some porters, this one is very drinkable, with creamy smooth carbonation and enough hop bitterness to offset the sweetness of the vanilla.

Works well as a desert beer with a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

tubacharlie, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of RJBeverage
2.25/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a growler. Dark, not quite opaque a bit of head, but it dissipates before long.

A charcoley-coffee smell. A bit like burnt coffee. The taste comes off with the roasted coffee, then the charred taste, but then you get the vanilla flavor. For the first pint, the overall taste is quite pleasant, but the more of it I drink, the more the burnt flavor asserts itself. After that the vanilla comes across as an attempt to cover the increasingly annoying burnt taste.

I had a draft pint of this at the bar, and was impressed enough to get a growlerfull a few days later. But repeated drinkings have decreased my originally positive view of this beer.

RJBeverage, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of Tilley4
2.55/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with a fairly thick creamy head.. Not black but nothing you can see thru either...

Toasted malt aromas with a strange tart aspect to them... Almost vinegary really... Maybe a touch of coffee as well but the sour aromas really detract from this... Not the coffee aroma I was anticipating..

Very reminescent of day old coffee that has gone a touch funky is what drinking this is like... The key elements are all there but there's a weird funkiness here that I don't think was intended... Disappointing...

Won't revisit this one. Glad I tried but once was enough...

Tilley4, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of ToasterChef
2.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an aged cellar temperature bottle into a pint glass. This bottle has been in my cellar for over a year--perhaps a bit too long. Upon opening, the bottle foamed up slowly but consistently. It took me a few minutes to pour two 6 oz glasses.

Once in the glass, the tan head was significant. It was foamy on top with large bubbles making up most of the body of the head. The liquid is cloudy, opaque, and colored dark brown. There are a number of streams of tiny bubbles rising in the glass.

As you would expect, the aroma is of coffee and vanilla. Both remind me of their natural bean form, not a brewed cup of coffee or vanilla flavoring. The balance between the two aromas works well for me.

The flavor tastes a bit off to me; perhaps another sign that I forgot about this bottle for too long. There really isn't any coffee taste until after I swallow. At that point, I can taste some dark roast coffee briefly before the flavor disappears. Before that, there is sweet vanilla laced with a slight vinegar taste.

A medium, creamy body contains a good amount of carbonation. Swishing the beer causes it to foam up a lot. There is a mild stickiness present throughout. The coat itself is sweeter than I like.

I'm glad I split this bottle. The beer is too sweet for me and the flavors comes in waves; they don't work together as they do in the aroma. The gushing bottle made it a pain to pour, which is just another strike against this beer. Perhaps if I find myself in an area where this is distributed, I'll try a fresh bottle, but I'm not going to go looking for this beer.

ToasterChef, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of allergictomacros
3.13/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Super dark with a bit of a weak head.

S - Nose is cocoa and coffee.

T - Leans towards the tart side with a lot of acidity. Soft chocolate floats in in the middle followed by a quick finish that doesn't stick.

M - OK body. Feels a bit thin maybe.

D - Again, just OK. I like the chocolatey center, but it gets muddled with the rest of it. I think the problem is that there's too much acidity in this one.

allergictomacros, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of mattgreger
2.4/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The pour on this brew is a dark, chocolate/coffee black color. It poured with a nice 1/2 bubbly, tan head that fades pretty fast to a small cap. There is a bit of lacing that falls down the sides of the class as you sip through this brew. This brew pours very "thin," which isn't what you expect from a porter.

The aroma is only that of coffee and some roasted malts. There was a slight hint of chocolate present in the noseful as well, but not very much. I am really don't smell any vanilla at all.

The taste is pretty subpar. I would have to say, I am far from impressed. The flavor that hits you first is surely that off the coffee. Then a bit of a roasted malty flavor follows, with a little hint of vanilla that kinda finishes this brew. The coffee flavor pushes any other flavors that are present out, but I can't detect any other flavors.

The mouthful is ok. The flavor is well enough, but the carbonination is very high, and kinda of makes me see this brew as a coffee soda more then a beer.

The drinkability on this brew, I guess would be easy. As stated above, I think that the coffee flavor is a little overbearing, the carbonination is kind of high, and with the name having vanilla in it, I expected a bit more vanilla flavor. I will venture on and try other Atwater Block products, but I will probably not turn towards this brew again.

mattgreger, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of sommersb
2.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 12 ounce bottle with a date of May 2010 (not sure if that is the bottled date or the best before date).

Poured into a tulip pint glass, this beer is dark brown/near black, with red tints visible when held up to light. Large tan head with a moderate amount of lacing.

I didn't get much aroma except for roasted, borderline burnt, malts. Based on the label's description I was expecting maybe some chocolate or vanilla in there but did not smell them.

Taste was of bitter, burnt coffee beans. No sweetness in this at all, and again, not much chocolate or vanilla as far as I could tell. It also seemed to have some kind of metallic taste to it. The mouthfeel had too much carbonation for my liking, with a bitter coffee aftertaste.

One beer was enough for me. If you like black coffee (which I do not), this may be more appealing to you, however.

sommersb, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of yesyouam
3.1/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Atwater Block Vanilla Java Porter is a brown/black beer with a thin khaki head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing. It has a sweet, roasty aroma with notes of coffee and sugar and a touch of chocolate. It's medium bodied and watery. It tastes pretty sweet. It starts roasty and then ends with a coffee ice cream flavor. The aftertaste is sour. There's no bitterness involved, really. It tastes great for half a second and then it kind of falls apart. It's a good concept but it doesn't really work out. Still, I wouldn't turn one down.

yesyouam, Sep 27, 2010
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,312 ratings.