1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

1,131 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,131
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 20.83%
Wants: 5
Gots: 62 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,131 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biggred1
biggred1

Indiana

2.65/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark chestnut brown with a whipped tan head, minimal lacing. Smells of cocoa, coffee and vanilla dominate the nose. Tastes like a sort of coffee soda, highly carbonated and a little too sweet for my taste. Lots of vanilla coffee but not enough beer flavor for me, very faint maltiness and no real hop flavor to speak of. Thin, fizzy mouthfeel, like a vanilla coffee coke. Not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 22:58:20 | More by biggred1
Photo of horshack7
horshack7

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +36.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This bottle of beer wonderfulness pours a an extremely dark garnet with brown hues. On top of that is light foamy tan head about two fingers worth. This is one beer that I could gaze at for a while.

Aromas: A very light hop nose with the coffee and chocolate malts roaming all around. The vanilla beans it's brewed with top off all those scents like a cherry on an ice cream sundae.

Taste: The vanilla erupts from this beer like a volcano that has been resting for a hundred years. The chocolate malts dance around the palate ever so gracefully. It has a smooth texture on the palate with a little hint of crispness.

Notes: This one is so incredible for a cold fall or winter day or night to warm one up rather nicely. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 01:12:18 | More by horshack7
Photo of benito
benito

Oregon

2.7/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at Mitchell's in Birmingham.

This looks like a porter, but it doesn't walk or talk like a porter. It's brown-black with a nice tan head and low carbonation. The aromas are heavy on vanilla, and the flavor is filled with vanilla sweetness. Coffee comes out more as the beer warms, but there's little to match it or the vanilla in terms of bitterness or malt presence. The spice adjuncts cut into the body of the beer, and leave it fairly watery.

This merges the vanilla and coffee flavors well, but there's virtually no porter-like characteristics left. Maybe there are too many competing flavors going on, but it ends up being more like vanilla-coffee than any beer complemented by those spices. An interesting idea that needs some tweaking.

Serving type: on-tap

08-31-2008 03:05:09 | More by benito
Photo of danielocean03
danielocean03

Indiana

2.58/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a deep blackish-brown with a thick full three fingers of light brown foamy head, very much like a rootbeer float. Smells sweetly of coffee beans, vanilla bean, and cocoa powder. Taste opens to a light watered down coffee flavor, faintest notes of vanilla, sweet maltiness. Has an odd characteristic of a metallic twinge to the tongue, lingers through the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light bodied with moderate carbonation, a little rough on the tongue. Drinkability suffers due to the lack of any strong characteristics that make for a good porter in my book.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2008 01:28:19 | More by danielocean03
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

2.9/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured a dark, opaque brown with a one inch effervescing, khaki-colored head that eventually settled into a broken skim that concentrated into a solid band around the edges of the glass. Ruby red highlights exposed when tilted for a quaff; some thin strands of lacing present during the tasting. Scents of malt, roasted coffee and vanilla; maybe a little wood as well. Taste is much more subdued than the nose and somewhat disappointing considering the boldness of the nose. Also detected a little bit of a citrus-quality, which threw the coffee flavor completely off. Mouthfeel was somewhat watery with a consistent level of carbonation throughout the mouth. Drinkability was not great on this one. Too much of a muddle of flavors, combined with the weak mouthfeel, make this an unlikely repeater for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2008 00:14:29 | More by Jwale73
Photo of cnally
cnally

Indiana

3.4/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Vanilla Java Porter, carried by some fine local dining establishments here in Indy. Not sure why.

The porter does look mighty fine, with a great dark brown coloring. Pretty close to black. Tan head has some trouble going down, and bubbly enough to be distracting.

The smells consist of heavy malt, mocha, coffee, and cherry.

The flavor starts very smoky and woodsy. These approach burnt wood or toasted nuts. The malt is huge and almost overwhelming, but really in a good way. The note here is the big-time vanilla aftertaste. Really strong, which makes sense, because that's how it's marketed. Not much in the way of hops, just malt and the additives.

The feel is really heavy and sticky. Pretty substantial stamp on a night.

When can you drink this beer? I don't know. It's too heavy and additive-tasting to be enjoyed with a meal, it's the farthest thing from hot-weather beer...maybe coming in from the snow, you could drink this in place of hot chocolate. It would probably would warm you up more, I would think.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 01:15:41 | More by cnally
Photo of SMADMS
SMADMS

Massachusetts

3.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from the boton into a pint glass

A-- dark almost black with slight mocha colored head (dispated quickly)
S-- Coffee slight hints of vanilla bean and chocolate
T-- Follows the nose nice coffee flavor slight bitterness with a touch of vanilla slight aftertaste (tinny)
M-- clean nothing fantastic here thin ok porter
D-- not a favorite and not a beer to sit and relax with

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2008 14:04:56 | More by SMADMS
Photo of bwalz786
bwalz786

Florida

2.35/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Simply, tastes like a cold coffee, brewed in one of those Holiday Inn coffee mass production mugs. So, what's good? They do the coffee flavor correctly, nice coffee aftertaste and I believe I believe I can taste a vanilla aftertaste also. That said, the porter is weak, mild and lacking luster. It is not full bodied in the least.

My dead hamster could poop in a puddle and do a better job.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2008 03:36:04 | More by bwalz786
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

2.78/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Deep brown-black with tall tan fizzy head with abundant lace.

S: Unfortunately, the rest of the components of this beer don't measure up to the looks. Smell is of burned coffee, a touch of cocoa. No malt or vanilla aspects are detectable.

T: The taste falls off even further. A thin spiced coffee flavor with a bit of alcoholic vanilla and mild dark chocolate are there. Rounded maltiness is still lacking and gives the beer's flavor little staying power.

M: The mouthfeel is thin and shows the low malt content of this beer. The finish is coating with a sticky sweet aftertaste that is a little gummy.

D: Another disappointing Atwater offering with thinness throughout. Not a high performer.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 04:05:31 | More by argock
Photo of auxiliary
auxiliary

Rhode Island

3.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance - Dark brown color, nice beige head.

smell - Chocolate, coffee, mocha, and vanilla.

taste - Too syrupy sweet with a bitterness at the end. Doesn't mix well. Lots of vanilla, and cofee taste here.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - I expected too much from this. Has the words, Robust poter, chocolate malt, coffee bean, vanilla extract. That is all they ahd to say to make me buy it. If they layed off the sour taste and the bitterness. Then this would be a great beer. I wouldn't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 01:57:39 | More by auxiliary
Photo of sraimondi
sraimondi

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at Moe's. Thanks Josh for continue to score interesting brews, not normally found in Western New England.

A- Nice 2" inch head. Completely opaque, no light refraction at all. Some sheet lacing which dissipates quickly.

S- Significant coffee/toffee smell with definite malt sweetness present.

T- Coffee predominates at the start, but without the harshness of many coffee based brews. Coffee carries throughthe finish as well. Tastes like a rootbeer float, IMO.

MF- Medium to full feel, with very low carbonation.

D- For a "novelty" beer, this one is actually quite good and well-made. Very smooth for a java based brew. I wil definitely seek this one out again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2008 16:43:36 | More by sraimondi
Photo of oneeye
oneeye

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served into a pint glass.
A. A dark brown cola with a minimal tan head. Looks rich, like a rich cup of dark brown coffee.

S. The aroma of roasted coffee beans. Roasted nuts with a hint of vanilla.

T. Roasted malts with a hint of wood. Roasted nuts with a lingering vanilla aftertaste.

M. Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit thin and watery.

D. Drink this beer slow. Enjoy the flavors as they linger on till your next sip. Uniqu style of beer. Stays with you throughout the night. A sipper and then move on.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2008 19:36:13 | More by oneeye
Photo of phattysbox
phattysbox

New York

1.93/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Cheers to beerbeagle as an extra. 12oz poured into Duvel goblet. Comes very black with a fizzy carbonation that initially leaves a thick 1.5 inch head. Quickly dissipates to tiny ring of lace.

Smells like a cold cup of coffee without the vanilla. These coffee flavored brews are very hard to master in my opinion. Most of the time comes out smelling like used coffee. With yery good beers the coffee will be light or more espresso-like. Strong coffee beers must be balanced by good malts or correct barreling. This brew misses the mark in the nose.

Taste unfortunately goes down even further. Extremely sour! I have no idea if I have had a bad bottle but the sourness was really too pugent for me. Is this suppoed to be the vanilla? Very odd indeed, hopefully a bad bottle, but sure I will try it again. Unfortunately a drainpour...

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 14:30:03 | More by phattysbox
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one you pour immediately - unfortunately the server at the restaurant I was at brought the bottle over and opened and kindly offered to get me a new glass (it was my second brew of the night). The beer started to foam out of the bottle like a snakehead, and when I finally poured it in the glass it was ALL foam. A good tan head that died at a medium pace, but just too much. Oh well. A good lace ring left with a blackish body, but a rather fainter than I expected vanilla smell like it was not pure vanilla malt but substitute vanilla extract. More coffee stout than anything I tasted, the vanilla malt is barely noticeable. A medium body that is somewhat filling but this is a rather basic stout with no standout qualities. Smooth and creamy and enjoyable, but just not something I'd seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 18:58:50 | More by clayrock81
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

2.68/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As I poured this beer an aggressive 3 finger head formed that was rather foamy vs. creamy. This settled to a 1/8 inch foam that remained atop the beer. The beer was as dark as dark could be with a dull finish to it.

Aroma was of vanilla Coke or coffee milk/coffee syrup for those from Rhode Island who are familiar with these products. A sweet, light coffee aroma.

Taste was a bit disappointing and thin. Up front there was a strong note of coffee that almost immediately vanished. In the middle of the flavor you could sense the vanilla flavor but it was not that pleasing. Then you are left with an almost empty metallic/mineral taste. There was almost no finish and I think this throws off the balance.

Fairly strong carbonation in the mouth feel which is pretty light in body. You could call this a session beer, but it would need a better flavor to have you want more than one.

Not one that I will try again.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2008 01:12:04 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of kinger
kinger

Ohio

2.75/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A good concept for a porter, but poor execution with this one makes for a very uneventful experience. The beer poured very dark into the glass with minimal head and even less lacing. I like my porters thick and heavy but this one was neither. Not much in the aroma department, you could tell that it was going to be malty and slightly sweet but that's about it. Very light on the mouth and throat, feels more like an ale than a porter. The taste is decent at best, in fact it's borderline bland. The vanilla is subtle which works nice, but what this beer is lacking are the complex dark roasted malts that are standard with porters. Not an awful beer by any means, but absolutely disapointing.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 20:28:33 | More by kinger
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

2.35/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Black body with pretty large sized tan head. about what youd expect.

S- roasted malt with an indistinguishable sweet smell.

T- VERY mild on the coffee and vanilla. not much of a taste at all. pretty disappointing.

M- the carbonation is bordering on too much. other than that its pretty smooth light.

D- this disappointed me quite a bit. im sure i wont have this one again

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2008 03:36:01 | More by jwinship83
Photo of klintok21
klintok21

Michigan

3.23/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hmm, I had much higher hopes for this beer. The 'vanilla/java' taste promised is delivered on a very lackluster scale. As mentioned earlier, a well roasted beer yes, but there wasn't enough of the other flavors to demand any spectacular raving review. If you like Porters like 'Oatmeal' or 'Breakfast'.... give this a shot, you may love it. Personally one was plenty, just not my bag baby.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2008 04:35:50 | More by klintok21
Photo of MadTown1000
MadTown1000

Virginia

2.53/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this one. How can you go wrong with a name like Vanilla Java Porter? Those are all good things. Unfortunately, it reminds me of none of them. Pouring the whole thing into a glass at once, it forms about an inch of head, with no lace down the sides of the glass. No smell to speak of. It's not sweet or thick like many porters, and if there's any vanilla or coffee flavor to it, it's faint to the point of disappearance. It's not objectionable, but it's not really much of anything at all. It's at least recognizable as a well-roasted dark beer, unlike some really bad ones I've had that might as well be Miller with food coloring. I'll finish off the pack with no complaints, but I won't be buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2008 02:19:15 | More by MadTown1000
Photo of OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin dark brown with some nice red hues when held up to the light. Foamy head that disappeared fairly quickly

Smells of toast, coffee, some sweetness (might be the vanilla).

Smoother than some of the typical "coffee ground" style porters. Nothing heavy, herbal, or over hopped. Some sugary/caramel flavors as well -- again, attribute to the vanilla.

Firm carbonation, not overly watery. Decent balance and an ability to coat your mouth with flavors.

These go down quite well on their own. Food pairings are a little odd, as it does have the coffee/vanilla/caramel feel of an after-dinner drink -- note: these are not over the top, in your face flavors -- this is not an A&W cream soda.

A nice surprise. Nothing that I'd have on a regular basis, but a nice treat every once in a while.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2008 13:15:25 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of ryseone
ryseone

Tennessee

4.93/5  rDev +46.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Brownish black like mixing all your paints together. With a brown head almost has highlights of red and gold
Aroma: A great caramel malt with a coco sweet glow and some toffee notes and then the bittering hops
Taste: A great thick caramel coffee toffee rush that bashes into a great bittering hops with a clean finish into a thick head very creamy and the vanilla is subtle but present
Notes: A great porter reminds me of Rogue's American porter. And it came from Michigan! Still things can surprise me

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2008 22:58:08 | More by ryseone
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vanilla Java Porter, Atwater Block Brewery, Detroit, MI

Deep black, with brown/red highlights at the edges...good tannish head.

Cocoa hits the nose first, then some coffee....bitttersweet, but mostly sweet. Baker's chocolate, more than anything else.

Drink it: there it all is again, cocoa, some bittersweet coffee-ish feels, but mainly sweet chocolate. And plumb full of vanilla, too, that's there in spades, don't miss it!

In fact, that's really the primary flavor, before any "java" or "porter" flavor. And it was a bit too much for me.
good, though!

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2008 04:51:13 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decent starting head which settles to a single layer of bubbles. Some lace. Dark brown, minimal light shines through.

Dark malt aromas with some jalepeno pepper--very odd. I cannot detect any vanilla or "java".

Thin bodied with high carbonation. This is a full flavored beer, but the tastes are slightly off and not as advertised. The flavor matches the aroma with an (now) expected spiciness. No vanilla, some coffee.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 22:02:45 | More by smcolw
Photo of IronCitySteve
IronCitySteve

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark black with hints of ruby red. Highly carbonated. Wasn't sure if I was drinking a beer or a pop. Minimal off white foam head that quickly disipated.

S: Lots of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, roasted espresso and caramel hints. This is typical of porters, however, there was no hop smell associated with it.

T: A tasting of coffee, with vanilla and chocolate. Would have expected more of a robust taste. Kind of sweet, but not terribly overpowering.

M: A very thin beer, with more carbonation then I expected.

D: A decent beer to have after dinner.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2008 15:51:10 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of dewalt
dewalt

New York

3.55/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Boasts a sweet flavor that strongly resembles a Starbucks Frappuccino. It's extremely smooth, and would be perfect as an after-dinner beer, at least if you mixed it with something else, like if you made a beer float with some vanilla ice cream. On its own, there's not enough malt, and it's way too watery.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2008 23:48:28 | More by dewalt
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,131 ratings.