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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.

1,210 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,210
Reviews: 458
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.41%
Wants: 6
Gots: 89 | 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: 1,210 | Reviews: 458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dogfishandi
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%

12oz bottle at about cellar temp poured into a pint glass. pours almost opaque dark brown color with a tan colored head. moderate head retention, hardly any lacing.

in the aroma i get mostly a wierd kind of metallic vanilla, almost tinfoil like smell. maybe from the vanilla extract. a little roasted malts, coffee, and some chocolate mixed around in there as well, but not very prominent.

the metallic vanilla flavor comes through in the taste right off the bat. again a little roast and some chocolate. finishes with some mild coffee flavors that have a slight bittering effect after the finish.

medium to light body, average carbonation. the tinfoil mouthfeel kinda ruined this for me. not too bad of a beer, but definately not what the label suggests, and at the same time, a little too much of what the label suggests. ill finish the other 2 i have and leave it at that.

dogfishandi, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of NCSUdo
3.48/5  rDev +3%

12 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep brown with small off white head. No lace, little retention.

S: Sweet vanilla, bit of coffee. Would like more roasted malt in the aroma, but what is there is pleasing. A hazelnut character to the aroma.

T: Roast malt is more apparent in the taste. Still a sweet vanilla character, and the coffee is much more noticeable. Again, a hazelnut character to the beer. Pretty decent taste.

M/D: Medium bodied, a bit too light for a porter, low carbonation. Pretty drinkable beer. Overall, it could use a little more porter character, but it's a decent beer as is. I'm quite surprised at this after looking over some of the other reviews. Overall, yes, the beer is "over flavored" but I still find myself liking the flavor more than being put off.

NCSUdo, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of joerodiii
2.45/5  rDev -27.5%

I was excited to try this beer...what a disappointment. The label says "Robust Porter". This was not at all robust and was barely a porter.

The aroma is mostly of mild roasted grains with a whiff of grassy hops. The taste is of a watered down stout. Not bad, but not really there. The coffee is really faint, and the vanilla is not even noticeable. The beer is thin and more carbonated than it should be.

If I am ever looking for a lawnmower porter, this is it.

joerodiii, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my nonic pint glass. Appears a dark brown color with about a finger of fizzy, quickly fading tan foam. Smell and tastes of artificial vanilla flavorings, mild chocolate, somewhat sour as well. I picked up zero coffee notes. Rather thin bodied with an aftertaste that just drops off flat. Steer clear.

ClockworkOrange, May 19, 2009
Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades quickly leaving a good lace. Brown/black opaque color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Coffee nose. Flavor is sweet coffee with a smooth vanilla finish. $2.05 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

jdhilt, May 05, 2009
Photo of mjw06
2.88/5  rDev -14.8%

rather unimpressive spacey small head on top a dark brown to black body. decent lacing.

very sweet dark chocolate with a ever-present strong plasticky vanilla, not much roast or even coffee bean in the smell.

roasted "java" bean taste with the vanilla. not chocolate in the taste. not very residual either. taste almost dissapears as it moves to the back and finishes. actually, not much taste at all.

doesnt pack the body you should expect from a porter. medium to light bodied feel. you know how you taste something and it is what it is, but yet something just doesnt seem right?? thats the best way to describe the carbonation in this brew. it seems fake/bootleg/knockoff, whichever word you choose.

the label calls this a "robust porter". sike! far from it. i was firmly dissapointed in this. the vanilla is over-kill in presence while at the same time really not packing that much taste to it. this is a waste of time and money.

mjw06, May 05, 2009
Photo of ILikeGoodCider
2.78/5  rDev -17.8%

Enjoyed on 04.26.09. Part of a BOTM sampler. Poured into a 14oz pint glass.

A: Almost black w/ a thin foamy tan head that leaves quickly.

S: Vanilla bean, dark roast malts.

T: A decent porter but too much coffee that and vanilla (maybe an attempt to overpower the java?). The vanilla extract is an interesting choice.

M: Light-bodied for a dark porter. Lingers on the tongue a bit. This is the best part of the brew.

D: The vanilla extract ruined a good coffee porter. Shame.

ILikeGoodCider, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of CHickman
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%

Came from the Beer of the Month Club; poured brownish black in color with a 1 finger tan creamy head that was full of little bubbles and faded slowly.

It had a very strong vanilla and coffee odor that was sweet overall, with toffee, caramel, wheat bread and half-and-half milky notes mixed in. Pretty nice aroma overall.

A malty brew with very low carbonation that tastes like roasted, sweet vanilla coffee beans dripped into a beer. The vanilla seems to have the strongest smell and taste while the coffee taste is light and fades, then the smoky taste fades finishing tart / dry / bitter. Hints of booze, milk chocolate sweetness and malt also show up after each swallow. This was a thin feeling beer with a medium body and a slick feel on the tongue.

Not the kind of beer that I would drink all night, but it was decent and a nice late night treat. I generally hate the term "robust", but as a huge coffee drinker by day I must say that this beer was robust in the coffee sense of being a beer and quite enjoyable.

CHickman, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%

Poured from a bottle into a small tumbler. Pitch black in color with moderate caramel head and no lacing. Smells of chocolate syrup and vanilla extract with some coffee and roasted malts. Taste is super sweet, lots of vanilla and hershey's then the sweet malts in the back. Light syrupy in texture, its dry with very low carbonation. Not my cup of tea or java for that matter. Recommended to those who like the sweetness.

BuffaloTapHugger, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of bimish
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%

A - Dark, tabbaco brown color. Thin head, dissipates quickly. Average laccing.

S - Roasted malt aroma, with heavy notes of coffee and some hints of vanilla (all to be expected from the beer's name).

T - Roasted malt flavors with heavy notes of vanilla. Coffee notes are not apparent. Some sort of a tangy flavor is also apparent, but hard to place.

M - Fairly coarse, light carbonation.

D - Sort of a strange porter. What I assume to be the vanilla component ends up overpowering the taste. This is not the first porter I'd reach for if I had a choice.

bimish, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of armock
2.73/5  rDev -19.2%

A - Poured a black color with a light brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt with coffee scents

T - Follows the nose but not as good tasting slight bit of vanilla flavoring

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Not the first porter that I'd drink if I was out at the bar but for one that was delivered to my doorstep for free its drinkable even though it falls short in the taste department

armock, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of scoobybrew
2.05/5  rDev -39.3%

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - deep dark amber color with a thick head that settles quickly into a fine lacing which has okay retention

S - strong roasted grain with a distinct smoked wood-like scent, faint vanilla

T - much like aroma strong smoky roasted grain, faint extract-like vanilla flavor

M - medium-light body, moderate carbonation, some astringency as well

D - This is a disappointing beer for something marketed as a vanilla java porter. It's better suited to a robust porter, but even at that, it's not very outstanding. The astringency is somewhat unpleasant. I wouldn't recommend this beer.

scoobybrew, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of 2KHokie
2.6/5  rDev -23.1%

12 oz. bottle. Pours a murky dark brown with a very small off white head. The head dissipates quickly leaving no lacing per se. Heavy vanilla and coffee notes in the nose give me hope. Mild carbonation with a somewhat astringent quality. It has a certain sourness that doesn't seem to pair well at all. Sweet with a very little bitterness. Dry. I don't get the coffee on the palate nearly as much as I did in the nose. Lighter in body and finishes fairly clean. As I was finishing this one, the flavors merged into a definite BBQ flavor. Very weird. It definitely didn't put it's namesake to very good use.

2KHokie, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of LordHammer
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Northern Brewer glass.

A: A very deep brown, almost totally opaque, pours with a small head that fades to a thin sheet.

S: Something between mild coffee and pumpernickel bread. A bit odd on the nose.

T: Really nothing special here. There are notes of coffee and vanilla, but the entire thing is bland for a porter. Really lacked the depth that I was expecting.

M: Lacks the feeling of substance that I expect from a porter. Carbonation is appropriately subdued.

D: Not overly strenuous to the palate or the liver. I could drink several, but on taste, one is certainly enough.

LordHammer, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of RobH
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%

12 oz brown bottle

A: Dark color but pours and appears to be thin in body for a porter

S: Bitterness prevails from the coffee and hops.

T&M: The very thin mouth feel disappoints from the beginning, delivering a thin liquid that's primarily a bitter rush of coffee and hops. Not enough balancing malt sweetness for my tastes.

D: This one doesn't deliver in my opinion. Falls short on body, balance, and overall character. There are MUCH better coffee porters out there, including Kona Pipeling Porter

RobH, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a brown color that is deep when held to the light. A quick, light 1/2 inch off-white head forms and quickly reduces to a mild and persistent lacing around the edges. Almost opaque in the center when held to the light. Some dark sediment on the bottom.

The aroma is initially primarily vanilla and chocolate. Some hints of coffee begin to peak through as it warms. It was not particularly strong in any one direction.

The taste was primarily vanilla initially. The coffee is minimally noticeable, primarily at the finish. There isn't that malty sweetness that could have overridden the vanilla.

The mouthfeel is a light/medium bodied beer with a very mild dryness at the finish. The carbonation was light. It just does not have the thickness I have come to love from porters.

Overall, this is a reasonable beer. It certainly could be improved upon but I would at least be willing to give it a try if I hadn't had one before.

SykDoc, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of yuenglings
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%

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

yuenglings, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of climax
1.83/5  rDev -45.9%

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

climax, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
1.45/5  rDev -57.1%

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

BARFLYB, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of KeefD
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

KeefD, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of billybob
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

billybob, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of Hokies
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%

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.

Hokies, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of tbeck
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%

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.

tbeck, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of Clydesdale
3.38/5  rDev 0%

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.

Clydesdale, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of Amalak
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

Amalak, Feb 24, 2009
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,210 ratings.