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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.

1,169 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,169
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 20.77%
Wants: 5
Gots: 78 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ypsifly on 10-21-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,169 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yuenglings


3.33/5  rDev -1.2%

A: Has a dark chocolate color to it with a very thick head and laceing

S: Strong rosted chocolate smell with a bit of coffeeness to it hint of vanilla

T: Good rosted chocolate vinalla taste with a nice bittnerness to it wish the coffee flavor would stand out more

M: Nice and creamy with good carbanation

D: I reciver this beer from a beer of the month club i thought it was very drinkable but i dont see my self going out and buying a case maybe if i ever see it in a bar i would have a cupple agian

03-07-2009 20:20:12 | More by yuenglings
Photo of climax


1.83/5  rDev -45.7%

keep in mind this was a beer-of-the-month mail-in, which was crowned with frost when it showed up, so it may or may not have been tainted...i'm hoping it was

color was a solid brown-black, a very fizzy head faded quickly to a creamy film

smell was hardly pungeant, chocolate malt and coffee rule a weak army... a bit cardboard

taste was definitely coffee and acidic, a bit more chocolate in the finish, faint hints of vanilla and random sour/bitterness. i wasnt very impressed for it was rather harsh, luke warm coffee... blegh

mouthfeel was pretty thin and watery, was never really creamy, just slightly crisp

i guess it could be easy to drink due to it's light body, but i never wanted another sip, for it really puckered me up like i had to french a frog. it seemed as though they just threw in artificial flavors to keep vamping it up.... i ended the misery by pouring the last third down

03-03-2009 05:19:13 | More by climax
Photo of BARFLYB


1.45/5  rDev -57%

12oz bottle into a Flying Fish pint glass. Had this on tap and wanted to see how the bottle version fared.

A- Atwater VJP pours out a very dark brown color. It looks black from afar but close up to the light the true color comes out getting lighter in color towards the surface. A very dismal head tried to form a cap but failed. No lacing

S- A nice roasty robust scent coming from this with a lot of malt presense giving off a chocolate smell. Some vanilla is masked under the massive coffee smell with a nice hop bite coming from the Goulding variety. With warming alot of rotted fruit with old coconut, turned out nasty.

T- The vanilla extract used comes out more in taste than smell and slightly edges out the coffee used but it's not a nice mix. This is backed by the chocolate taste coming from the malts which also gives way to a faint caramel smell. Nice hop bite rounds it all out. After a few more tries at this I found this to be horrible. Charred fruit with a overwhelming vanilla coke taste. Nasty.

M- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation for the style which is felt on the tounge minimally. Doesen't exactly coat the palette but not on the thin side either. A slighty bitter aftertaste.

D- I enjoyed this much better from the tap but the bottle version is not that far off. Not as creamy or smooth from the bottle though. A low abv makes this good for a session beer, but i won't be going out of my way for this one. I paired this with some steak which was a nice way to go, just wish this was put together better, right now it's undrinkable

03-03-2009 00:10:20 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of KeefD


3.08/5  rDev -8.6%

Dark brown with ruby highlights, lots of white sediment floating around, thin head that disappeared quickly leaving no lacing. Aroma has some nice caramel and vanilla notes, backed up by a decent coffee aroma and light chocolate. Taste is is pretty much the same, but with some notes of fruit and licorice and some sourness. Vanilla isn't too noticeable, but what vanilla flavor is in there it seems artificial. Decent coffee notes, but nothing great. Nothing complex about this one. Mouthfeel is a little too thin and watery for a porter. Not bad, but not very good either.

03-02-2009 21:31:09 | More by KeefD
Photo of billybob


3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

poured a murky dark brown with a short light tan quickly fading head and some fading lace. coffee aroma was there but just above the weak level. first taste was very sweet but on the second and third you start picking up the roasted malt and fresh coffee and vanilla although the vanilla is weak. mouthfeel felt a little watery for a good porter its worth a try but i have had better.

03-02-2009 15:53:17 | More by billybob
Photo of Hokies

Rhode Island

2.9/5  rDev -13.9%

A 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Their is a small off white head with a thin lace. The color is a black color with ruby red hues.

Wow, the java is strong in this one with some nice malt, vanilla and lactose aroma.

Something is missing in the taste as it is a little watery. The java is toned down and the vanilla is missing. Their is also a stronger taste of lactose with either a burnt coffee taste or a light bitter chocolate taste.

A nice beer but it doesn't hit the java and vanilla like I would like.

03-02-2009 02:30:12 | More by Hokies
Photo of tbeck


3.1/5  rDev -8%

Pours a dark black with thin to little off-white head that disappears quickly. Very little clarity, but filtered. Has a little collar and very little laciness. Aroma reminds me of kahlua. Taste is also of kahlua, with a definite vanilla presence and some coffee in the aftertaste. Viscous but smooth texture with a medium body that is not heavy. Decent beer that I did not mind the differences. A little sweet for a session beer.

03-01-2009 04:38:19 | More by tbeck
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

3.38/5  rDev +0.3%

A: Nearly opaque dark brown with a medium-sized, creamy, roasted marshmallow color head. Retention is average, with some lacing.

S: Vanilla and freshly ground coffee feature prominently in the aroma. A bit of a burnt/roasted malt smells, perhaps some caramel as well. Fairly appealing, but soft and not especially complex.

T: A sweet, watery coffee flavor accompanied by a nice vanilla taste. There's a bit of lactic sweetness as well. A light roasted malt flavor that shows off a bit of dark fruit. A touch of leafy hops shows up near the end to balance things a bit.

M: Rather thin and watery. Carbonation is lifeless. I think this beer would be much more appealing if it had a chewier, fuller mouthfeel with snappier carbonation.

D: This one tastes pretty decent, but overall it comes across as a very pedestrian porter with some vanilla and coffee flavors added to give the impression of depth. That's not to say that they've failed, necessarily, just that they didn't aim high enough to begin with.

02-26-2009 04:32:56 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.05/5  rDev -9.5%

I received a bottle from a beer of the month club. It had a very dark brown, opaque color to it. Average lace. Has kind of a cough syrup smell to it.

Upon tasting it, though, it's vanilla extract. Very unique taste, but the vanilla comes through way too much. The coffee, I don't know, I only pick up a slight hint of it as an aftertaste. It tastes like an iced mocha or a vanilla milkshake, I guess.

Very interesting. I could really only drink one, but it's a decent enough beer.

02-24-2009 03:17:56 | More by Amalak
Photo of simmons

New Jersey

2.75/5  rDev -18.4%

Apperance dark black with thick and foamy long lasting head

Aroma mild roasted aroma, slight cardboard sent

Taste: mild sweet & roasted flavor followed by acidic aftertaste. Vanillia not noticeable, mild hop bitterness with not much flavor or aroma hops

Mouthfeel: A soft beer with high carbonation. The malt could be balanced alittle bit better but the hop additions are perfect.

Overall: This is a good beer although I think it could use slight improvement. acidic roasted flavor and cardboard aroma are my 2 major complaints, coffee and vanillia could be more noticable. other than that this is a drinkable beer.

02-24-2009 02:22:58 | More by simmons
Photo of srandycarter


3.95/5  rDev +17.2%

A - Dark, almost black, TONS of carb, mocha head leaves slowly to ring. Sudsy thin lacing.

S - Mild coffee, roasted malt. Not much there.

T - Nice. Not extreme, but very quaffable. Light coffee, some essence that could be called vanilla, some roasted malt. Not a bad beer.

M - Perhaps too carbed, medium body, a bit of an off twang at finish.

D - Not too harsh, yet not too bland. ABV in check. I would say a beer that you don't have to think too hard about, yet enjoy.

02-23-2009 06:09:57 | More by srandycarter
Photo of epk

New Jersey

1.88/5  rDev -44.2%

notes from 2-13-09

Poured into a pint glass. Dark black - somewhat of a watery look. The head was thin and tan in color, dissipating quickly with little to no lacing.

Smelled of dark roasted malts and little of anything else. Perhaps the java beans they mention as part of it's brewing simply get muddled together with the taste of said malt however. The malts again impart the typical slight chocolate flavor of other beers of this nature. No hint of vanilla as would have been expected.

From here is takes a turn for the worse. The taste was again, simply as malty as the smell with no real vanilla evident. Ironically they specifically use the word "balanced" on their label in reference to their choice of hops (U.S. Golding) however my experience was the complete lack of balance. Malt was overpowering and the mouthful was no different.

Drinkability is obviously low. As I was able to finish the full 12 oz. serving I will not give this porter a complete "awful" rating however the words "drain pour" did cross my mind while drinking it.

Now, perhaps I got a bottle past its prime here (didn't check the label for date) or maybe a bad batch from the brewery but this brew was not nearly as good to me as some of the other reviews here. In taste and smell it resembled a botched home brew of a brown ale I did a month back.Those will all be drain pours.

02-16-2009 17:27:56 | More by epk
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev +6.2%

I got this in my beer of the month club. I poured a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. It pours a dark brown with a thin white head. The aroma is dominated by vanilla, I really do not notice any other smells. The flavor is sweet and dominated by vanilla. The coffee in this one takes a back seat. The beer is a bit on the thin side and could use some more carbonation. The beer is not hard to drink. I like vanilla so I liked the beer.

02-14-2009 23:00:28 | More by bonkers
Photo of sirpsycho


3.53/5  rDev +4.7%

Bottle. Pours a very dark brown, almost cola like, small tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is of roast coffee and slight vanilla and chocolate. Taste is coffee, kind of an extract vanilla and chocolate flavor, but not in a bad way. Easy to drink and enjoyable.

02-14-2009 16:07:47 | More by sirpsycho
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

3.48/5  rDev +3.3%

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black color with a short beige head that remained as a ring leaving some spotty lacing.

S - vanilla/roasted coffee bean aroma.

T - vanilla flavor hits first but as the beer sits in the mouth the robust roasted coffee and chocolate flavors come through with a light touch of bittering on the finish.

F - medium bodied with lightly crisp carbonation.

D - it was a "one and done" beer for me but I would "do it" again.

02-12-2009 02:07:30 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of adamks

District of Columbia

2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

a: pours near-black with thin foamy tan head that disappears quicker than any head i've ever seen.

s: sweet vanilla, dark roast malts, some homebrew funk.

t: sickly sweet vanilla dominates, it tastes like a decent porter that then had a bit too much burnt coffee taste so they dumped a bunch of vanilla extract into it. the label even confirms the vanilla extract addition. i'd be better off putting grocery store extract into my homebrew porter.

m: watery, light body, medium-eavy carbonation.

d: pretty bad. i think the sweet vanilla made an average beer pretty horrible. i love coffee and/or vanilla stouts/porters, but i won't be buying this again. it looked tasty on the shelf but resist the urge!

02-10-2009 01:48:12 | More by adamks
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

3.23/5  rDev -4.2%

A rocky head, with notes of mahogany, blankets a dark, red-to-black porter with ample carbonation.

Sweet vanilla extract partners with bittersweet chocolate while black coffee, raisins and sent of Cuba-Libra rises with warmth.

Imagine sweet, black coffee with no bitterness, add some chocolate syrup and fudge for a quick finish.

Java Porter is smooth and creamy with soft carbonation, a medium body and no sense of the alcohol.

Relatively easy to sip or gulp. Probably would go nicely with ice cream.

02-09-2009 20:58:36 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of Mag00n

New York

1.35/5  rDev -59.9%

Something about this beer just did not jive with my palate. I found it incredibly bitter, to the point of being undrinkable. Probably the worst beer ive had since i got 'into' beer some years back. Thankfully I only had one of these in a 6pack mixer.

I wish i could be more constructive but i just found this to absolutely horrible.

02-08-2009 07:27:33 | More by Mag00n
Photo of dpuia


3.2/5  rDev -5%

Drank from a home keg-dispenser out of a Sam Adams glass. Pours exceptionally well, great head but disapates quickly (story of my life). Robust coffee smell taste from start to finish, however light taste of the vanilla wish it were a little more. Low carbonation.

Pretty much middle of the road.

02-06-2009 07:47:57 | More by dpuia
Photo of coldmeat23


1.68/5  rDev -50.1%

GLASS: Shaped Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours almost black. Two fingers of loose coffee colored foam form and then dissipate very quickly. Lacing is minimal.

Definite coffee notes are present. Sadly, it smells like a cup of Folgers, not a big dark roasted coffee shop cup. The vanilla is also present, although less so. It smells artificial. Slight hints of roasted malts.
The whole thing has a sort of 'metallic' smell too it.

No, sir. I don't like it.
Burnt coffee beans dominate the taste. There is also a 'fake' sweetness to it, that destroys whatever chance this beer may have had. The vanilla is nowhere to be found. There seems to be a bit of hops sourness here, also. This brew is way out of balance.

Very light, waterey body. Not at all what I want from a stout, of any kind. Way too thin.

As this is now a drainpour, I'm going to say that the drinkability is non-existent.
Unless they change the recipe, I hope to never have this beer again.

02-03-2009 19:33:04 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.05/5  rDev -9.5%

Appearance: pours a black color with a short 1/2" head that breaks apart immediately. No lacing develops.

Smell: soft hints of vanilla and roasted malts.

Taste: very light and thin roasted malt base with mild chocolate, hints of vanilla, and some mild coffee flavors arriving late. This seems a bit unbalanced to me as the bitterness is stronger than expected.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Lighter side of a medium bodied beer. Aftertaste is short.

Drinkability: one bottle was more than enough. The flavor profile is not balanced and I was looking for a different beer after finishing this one.

01-28-2009 12:43:50 | More by Gavage
Photo of sonicdescent


2.55/5  rDev -24.3%

Pours a very dark brown with a nice frothy one finger of off white head that sticks around a while.

Smells of chocolate malt, something sour?. A bit strange.

Tastes like it smells. It's not quite as off putting as it smelled, but still odd. Sour taste with coffee, struggling to sense the vanilla. Oddly named at best, just wrong at worst.

I can't fault the mouth, relatively thin and low/med carbonated.

Drinkability is low just because it's so damn strange. I was waiting for vanilla and java to hit me and it never does.

01-26-2009 04:59:31 | More by sonicdescent
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.83/5  rDev +13.6%

Ive had this beer on tap before as well, much better in that format. This is a review of a 12 oz bottle poured into a mug.

A. Dark brown with a small off white head that sticks a bit of lace.

S. Roast coffee and some bready malt.

T. Definately a solid coffee presence here coupled with some roasted malt. Notes of chocolate. Though some say the hops add a sour twang, I found the hop presence to be very subdued, and add more of a gritty bitterness at the end than anything

M. Semi-smooth full bodied brew.

D. Pretty easily.

01-21-2009 18:38:56 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of cagocubs


3.08/5  rDev -8.6%

A: Pours a dark brown with a big tan head that leaves shortly after the pour. The head dissapates completely except the edges of the glass with no lacing.

S: I was hit with the coffee smell right away with hints of roasted malts and barley.

T: Huge coffee taste mixed with roasted malt, at first it is very nice. Then the taste turns sour from the hops. I was dissapointed with the vanilla extract they put in the recipe. I got no taste of it whatsoever.

M: Mouthfeel was good as it was smooth with low carbonation and warming.

D: Low, this is a strong coffee porter which could only be drank once in a while or whenever in the mood for a strong java porter. I dont see myself buying this in the future because I believe there are better porters out there.

01-17-2009 22:15:41 | More by cagocubs
Photo of HopEnthusiast


2.63/5  rDev -22%

Pours dark brown with ruby tints when held to the light. Thin dark tan head that doesnt last at all. no lacing. Aroma is of roasted coffee and malts. Body is very thin with no carbonation at all. Taste is of roasted coffee, malt and vanilla. Not very well balanced. Has a nasty mouthfeel and avery low drinkability due to the lack of carbonation.

01-16-2009 23:11:39 | More by HopEnthusiast
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,169 ratings.