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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.

1,117 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,117
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 20.83%
Wants: 5
Gots: 59 | 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: 1,117 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Reagan1984


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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
Photo of jamie2dope


2.35/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Decided to grab a single bottle of this at the store. Poured in to an Ommegang chalice a dark dark brown, just a shade or two away from being black. Attractive hues can also be seen at the bottom of the glass. Smell is pretty good, has a pleasant milk chocolate, caramel, and slight coffee nose. Taste is blander than expected, with the caramel, java and chocolate tastes floating around. but never really coming together. Body is a disappointment in that there really seems to be something missing. Perhaps a bit more malt? I dunno, but it leaves me without much to talk about. One is more than enough for me. This one isn't terrible, but like I said, there is something missing. Definitely a beer that could use some improvement. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 22:28:40 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of Getinthevan


4.05/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a pint glass. I never had it before, and the vanilla java sparked my interest.

Appearance was very dark and chocolate-like. The head was at least two fingers deep and left a nice ring of foam around the tip of the glass.

Smell was strong with roasted malts and vanilla. I was definitely in for a major surprise.

Taste was very good, much like a smooth porter should be. The vanilla was pleasant behind the thick porter and gave it a nice contrasting flavor to the java and porter itself. For $3, this was a great purchase.

Mouthfeel felt great. It was definitely a great beer to behold and savor, as the vanilla is much stronger in the mouth before the final gulp. The fresh vanilla certainly made this meaty porter very satisfying.

Drinkability is very good. This beer left me satisfied and happy after it was all done. It was nice, filling, and brought on the right level of buzz; seriously, this was a nice surprise and it couldn't have come on a better deal.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 17:47:07 | More by Getinthevan
Photo of Matty1918


3.55/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a black color (no light peeking through this bad boy). A nice 2 finger, tan, creamy head that slowly dissapears. Descent lacing.

Aroma is of sweet toasted malts. A nice coffee, caramel, chocolate aroma. Very nice aroma.

Sweet malts are the first thing you taste with a hint of mild spice in the back ground. Kind of light though. This is followed by some coffee and chocolate flavors. There is also a faint hint of vanilla at the end not much though.

Mouthfeel was kind of watery to me with some good carbonation it's a descent brew. I'd buy a sixer of this if I was looking for something flavorful but light on a nice fall night.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 01:04:31 | More by Matty1918
Photo of BDIMike


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

Pours a dark brown, black color. It has a tan head that dissipates immediately.
Smells very nice of a strong vanilla flavor. Very strong coffee smell as well. A bit of chocolate at the end.
Taste is somewhat strange at first. A bit of a chocolate taste mixed in with vanilla and a little coffee as well. All of the flavors kind of hit at the same time and confuse me.
The mouthfeel is somewhat thin for me for a porter.
Drinkability is not very good on this. Even if one liked this, I couldn't see drinking many more than one of these. I just don't think the tastes really come together on this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2008 01:03:16 | More by BDIMike
Photo of DrDogbeer


2.65/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had a tasting of various new beers to hit our area- Pours a thin oil-like consistency into a shaker pint. Thin off white head disapates quickly. Smells of vanilla and some coffee, then alcohol. Tastes like flat vanilla coke. Not much carbonation and not alot going on tastewise, even though I get some flavors of vanilla, coffee, and roasted malts- they all seem artificial. Very watery mouthfeel, will not seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 12:37:12 | More by DrDogbeer
Photo of jackorain


2.65/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A-Dark brown nearly opaque. 1/2 inch tan head fell quickly and left a big collar and varied coat. Sheeting lace rose and fell with each swallow.

S-Roasted barley, choclate, dark roasted coffee and just a hint of vanilla.

T-roasted, almost burnt gains first then dark roasted coffee and a touch of choclate. The vanilla comes in the end but is not overwheliming at all. There is a twang in the finish. Through this beverage there was an off-putting mettalic edge that I could not take.

M-thin for a porter but nice carbonation.

D-It was a near dump dur to teh off flavors. I will not be having this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2008 17:13:36 | More by jackorain
Photo of Taffle


3.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Just name of this beer made my mouth water - Vanilla Java.
The brew poured a succulent and creamy-rich black.

The java aroma is evident, with faint hops.

Immediate coffee bean intensifies the palate followed my a mellow, malty sweetness. Very rich and bold tasting. The hint of hops doesn't balance really well with the rest of the beer. The chocolaty flavors make this a acceptable after dinner beer.

Low in carbonation and a rich body make for a superb, savory mouth feel.

A good beer overall. A little rich and creamy with bold flavors - limits the consumption.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2008 00:39:13 | More by Taffle
Photo of thequeen711


3.48/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A tasty porter with a hint of coffee and vanilla. Rich porter mouthfeel, I am partial to porters and stouts, and I would count this brew among my top 10. ABV comes in at 6%. I'd recommend this brew to any fan of stouts and porters to enjoy. Take a six home and try it!

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2008 00:55:57 | More by thequeen711
Photo of Cromster


1.85/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - Dark black color with no head or lacing.

Smell - Burnt coffee with just a very slight hint of vanilla.

Taste - Burnt coffee and sour citrus flavors. I was really expecting a deeper taste but this beer just didn't deliver. It tasted watered down.

Mouthfeel - Water and light on the palate.

Drinkability - I can't get past the taste of something being burnt. I wouldn't drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2008 02:16:55 | More by Cromster
Photo of Slynger


2.93/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark cola color with a minimal amount of light brown foam. The smell is sweet maple syrup with some dark coffee grounds and vanilla extract. More bitterness than sweetness in the flavor. Black coffee grounds with roasted black malts and some vanilla cola-like sweetness. Medium bodied while remaining a bit watery with minimal acidic carbonation. This stuff is not great.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2008 22:26:14 | More by Slynger
Photo of scruffwhor


3.38/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black beer with very dark highlights when held to light. No head or visible bubbling. For sucha dark beer, the liquid itself doesn't seem very thick. The aroma is cheap and tart and pungent coffee grounds. The front of the tongue is a good mix of light roasted vanilla and morning roast coffee. Then the middle flashes quickly turns a bit acidic and cheap tasting as far as coffee goes. Th finish is a dark roasted prune mixed with a more mellow morning roast style coffee flavor. The mouthfeel is quick, but a little acidic. Reminds me of ceap coffee in the work cafeteria.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 02:23:02 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of dedrinker


2.73/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Almost black with a tan head. Aromas of cherry pipe tobacco and distant warnings of the Atwater curse (bacterial contamination). There is some coffee notes in the flavor and not much vanilla. There is an acidic tang that is curiously out of place. The curse? Perhaps. Oxidation? A little. Medium body and a bitter acidic finish - possibly the coffee aspect. Strike two for Atwater? You bet.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2008 02:55:40 | More by dedrinker
Photo of dragonglen


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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A - Dark and thick with no head, no lacing.

S - A strong coffee smell with some hoppiness and just a hint of vanilla.

T - A thicker beer with some distinct bitterness mostly due to the coffee flavor I believe. The vanilla is there but barely noticeable. Some malty and bitter aftertaste.

M - Decent, a little chick without too much carbonation. It goes down pretty smoothly for a porter.

D - I would have maybe 2 of these in a session. The taste is pretty strong, so this is something definitely better for later in a session. Overall not bad, especially for a porter.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 17:59:30 | More by dragonglen
Photo of OWSLEY069


4.13/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black, with a light tan. In the aroma, vanilla, coffee, with hints of chocolate and caramel. In the taste, mainly cocoa, and a small presence of vanilla. A very smooth and cocoa-ish mouthfeel, kinda gritty, and a dry cocoa aftertaste. Big flavor, and quite smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2008 15:38:16 | More by OWSLEY069
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,117 ratings.