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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.

1,318 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,318
Reviews: 468
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 20.65%
Wants: 14
Gots: 125 | 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: 1,318 | Reviews: 468 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hdofu
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smells intensely of vanilla late. And the taste is quite sweet, kind of like alot of vanilla in strong coffee with a pinch of sugar. Color is pretty black with a bit of brown. Mothfeel is smooth. Drinkability is also ok but would be better amidst sweeter beers

hdofu, Oct 14, 2009
Photo of hosehead83
3.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into astandard pint glass
Dark, black in color with a big tan head of foam
Aroma-Vanilla and coffee
Taste-Lots of vanilla extract(almost too much) cofee and cream and some chocolate notes-Light to medium bodied-drinkable, but only if you like, really like vanilla as it almost overwhelms the flavor of this beer

hosehead83, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of tehawful
2/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Poured black with a hint of dark brown to the color. A decent head at first, but fizzy enough not to be surprised when it quickly reduce to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Smells of mocha followed by a strong vanilla aroma. Certainly as advertised, though somewhat of an artificial smell.

Taste: Tastes of stale somewhat burnt coffee. A hint of chocolate manages to come through in the beginning before being completely overtaken by the artificial vanilla flavor. The taste of extract lends itself to the sour ending.

Mouthfeel: A little lighter than I had hoped for. Medium carbonation for what I had expected from a Java Porter.

Drinkability: The disappointing quality of the coffee flavor and the over-artificial flavor of the vanilla extract is something I cannot get past. This is not something I would buy again.

tehawful, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of brauseboof
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap, poured very dark of course with a finger and half of head
Smelled mostly of vanilla and coffee
A nice combination of vanilla and mocha. Kind of like drinking dessert
A wee bit on the watery side but well put together
Very drinkable, but I certainly would keep it to one of these, perhaps paired with some cherry cheesecake

brauseboof, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of MrDanno96
3.78/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I went to the Old Toad this evening, my favorite pub in Rochester. I tried this brew and took some notes.

A: Pours a pitch black color, just like Guinness. It had very little head and no lacing.

S: Very apparent sweet vanilla bean scent. Also hints of mocha.

T: Sweet vanilla flavor is most apparent. Also coffee, mocha, chocolate, and faint bitter malt.

M: More carbonation than I expected. It has a pretty light body that leaves an aftertaste that's both sweet and a little bitter.

D: I wouldn't want to drink more than one of these, but it's a pretty tasty novelty porter. The flavors in it definitely makes it live up to its name.

MrDanno96, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown, almost black with slight amber edges when held to a light source and a thick foamy tan head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Roasted chocolate malty aroma with hints of roasted coffee beans, vanilla bean, dark chocolate and subtle hops.

Roasted coffee flavor with chocolate maltiness, oatmeal, vanilla bean and hazelnut. Creamy medium body that is pretty silky considering how roasty the flavor is with a slightly dry bitter finish.

corby112, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of Goldfish19
2.45/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

~ Purchased this 12 oz bottle from New Beer Distributors in Manhattan, NY. Pours dark brown with a small head that dissipates quickly. Aromas are light and I can make out hints of coffee and vanilla. Taste is sourish. Mouthfeel is watery. I had high hopes for this beer in the beginning, but it turned out to be a disaster in the end. Drink at your own risk! ~

Goldfish19, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of batty
3.48/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: just on the brown side of black, just reddish-chocolatey at the edges when held to the light. off-white head is minimal, laces sticks for a little while, then disappears. i like my beers (esp porters i think) w/ big thick foam.. not quite up to what i was hoping.

S: mostly smells like vanilla extract, including the alcohol notes. label does say added vanilla extract, so makes sense, but doesn't explain the lack of much else - just a hint of chocolate really far under the surface, but really quite one-dimensional.

T: my first thought was of sweetness, then confusion, then of root beer. on closer inspection that first thought was rather ridiculous, and as i settle into the beer i get strong vanilla, but really of vanilla extract. tastes much more artificial than i would like, but this could be just because there isn't enough to back up the vanilla flavor - chocolatey malts, but really needs more body and substance in the middle for flavor to round out the brew

M: thin.

D: goes down pretty smooth and easy, and reasonably tasty.

batty, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an attractive dark brown color with a thick head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Large amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma and flavor sadly does not carry the show. Mild vanilla and chocolate aromas but very mild. The flavor is a bit off. Touches of vanilla and coffee but it lacks a nice malt base to help with the non traditional flavors. Slight bitterness with no lingering aftertaste. The body starts nice but falls off in the end and feels a little thin and overcarbonated. Nothing bad with this beer but it comes off rather timid and poorly executed. No point in drinking this again.

morimech, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of mooseisloose
2.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells like alot of java but with a vanilla bean smell also very prevalent. Pours to a very opaque dark brown with a creamy micro-bubble head that stands nicely in the glass. First sip yields a good up front roasted malt flavor that is slightly sweetened with a twang of vanilla. The flavor however, waters out quickly and leaves a minute bit of bitterness behind but overall the finish is very clean. Mouthfeel is good on carbonation but the thinning out of the flavor ripples into and adversely affects the mouthfeel as well. Not really what I expected. I was looking for more of a big bold porter with a vanilla twist. It ain't there.

mooseisloose, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of porterwoobie
3.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

op tap, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: dark brown, thick off-white head, good lacing.

S: chocolate and roasted notes. and as the beer is called, vanilla is also present and up front.

T: heavy on the vanilla. the chocolate, coffee, and roasted flavors fall underneath the vanilla and are subtle and muted. the vanilla was heavy on the palate.

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation, reminds me of drinking a cream soda

Drinkability: drink one every now and again to do something different, yes. a goto beer, no.

porterwoobie, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to cvstrickland for this brew.

Pours a nice black color, very nice carbonation, very nice two-finger plus creamy/foamy off-white head, with some thick creamy sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some slight coffee notes, slight chocolate note, vanilla. The taste is slightly sweet, with some coffee/chocolate notes, vanilla. Medium body. Drinkable, I was expecting more, but still a tasty brew.

Wasatch, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of throwthechaff
1.8/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

this is probably the worst and most sorry excuse for a porter i have ever had. please save yourself the cash and do not even try this beer. The only smell or aroma that you get from this is this weird fake vanilla stench that just smells wrong and unnatural. The taste totally reflects the smell and is just as worse if not more terrible. I loved the octoberfest by them but this is just a sorry excuse for a beer and it seems so half assed it just comes off as a joke. Please don't drink this beer, I would rather drink a Kobra.

throwthechaff, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of SirSketch
1.85/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

After being on a porter kick for about a week, I noticed this beer for the first time at my local liquor store and decided to buy a six-pack... not the best decision. The head was out of control and I had to wait far to long to let it subside before drinking. Light roast and coffee in the aroma, but not much else and hard to detect. I didn't get much vanilla in either the aroma or taste, sadly. The beer was very thin in all aspects. This isn't unbearable, but it was not pleasant by any means and completely not worth the price, which was average or slightly higher than other craft six-packs

SirSketch, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of OneDropSoup
3.4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours the darkest brown imaginable with a half-finger of tan head that drops to a thin, loose dusting. Deep ruby highlights, but only a little bit. Foamy & creamy looking around the edges, but no lacing.

Smells of some chocolate and roasted coffee, not real rich but it's there. A little vanilla & honey, even graham cracker. Good smells, but on the thin side.

Taste is mostly roasty & kind of waxy in a way, like crayons or wax paper. Not really getting much of the yummy flavors that defined the smell. They pick up a little as it warms, & there's a dark chocolate aspect, but they are still dominated by the bitterness & waxiness.

Mouthfeel is decent but leaves a little bit of a film in the mouth. The aftertaste is bitter. I was really excited about this when I first tried it, & it was my introduction to more complex porters, but now I've moved onto other similar & better examples of the style. Not bad, but I'm starting to see superior alternatives. Also prefer it on draft.

OneDropSoup, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of righthereisay
1.83/5  rDev -46%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

One of the worst porters I've ever had. Kind of like they just took a random porter and poured a shot of coffee and some vanilla extract in it.

Will never buy from this brand again unless somebody recommends a different beer from them.

Luckily I just purchased a single from the 6 pack shop. I don't think my dog would have drank the other 5.

righthereisay, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with a bubbly beige head. Smells of milk chocolate, a bit of vanilla, slightly acridic aroma. Slight coffee and a touch of alcohol. Taste is creamy chocolate, slight coffee, very smooth taste is a bit unexciting. Creamy bordering on watery mouthfeel, Light carbonation, medium body. This one was okay. It was the best of the three that I bought from Atwater, but only okay compared to others of the style.

johnnnniee, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Deep brown/black with an ochre halo of light. Minimal head with not much lacing to speak of.

S: Baker's chocolate and hershey's unsweetened dry cocao mix on the nose. A little bittering in there, but you smell a the chocolate malts with a little bit of burnt coffee grounds.

T: Follows the nose by the letter. Add a splash of vanilla syrup and a slight chemical flavor.

M: Light body and inconsistent carbonation between bottles.

D: This beer was very mediocre. I had high hopes for this and was sorely disappointed. One expects a complex brew based on the flavors in the title. That is hardly what is delivered.

DeathbySexyBT, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of JerseyDevil980
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smooth vanilla porter, not as much vanilla as one usually gets in this style. It poured a nice carmel color out of the bottle and finished looking like a nice solid porter. It has a smooth finish with a slight vanilla aftertaste which is pleasant. The aroma score is low but that could be cause it tended to lack an aroma over all.

JerseyDevil980, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of wangbruins
3.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Dark, cola appearance with a smooth, syrup-like pour and almost no head

S- Slight vanilla smell, but I had to strain to catch it, with coffee and I also thought I detected a nutty scent

T- I could taste the vanilla, but it's my favorite flavor of anything so that was easy for me, and I thought the coffee was strong like an expresso, but no nut flavors that I thought might be present

M- Very smooth which was surprising to me because I expected it to be way heavier. This was actually the most enjoyable part of the beer for me because of that

D- This is almost like a dessert beer that went down easy but it would have to be a one to two limit. I had this on tap last night but it was my last beer of the night so I didn't really get to pay much attention to what I was drinking so I brought a bottle of it home to have today. Wasn't bad on tap (as far as I remember) but not much different.

I had this at the Brickyard in Lewiston, New York but it's not listed on the Beer Spy list. If you are ever in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Lewiston area, give this place a try. My best friend is the gm and the person who got me into good beer, as well as telling me about BA. He is building their beer selection and doing a pretty good job of it.

wangbruins, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of Buschyfor3
1.95/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle served in a small pilsner glass at Rich O's Pub, New Albany

A: A moderately dark brown body with some reddish/ruby colored highlights that peak out near the edges of the glass - the body is not overly dark but still has some sense of richness in color. Off-white, slightly creamy head with decent retention and lacing. Sadly, the appearance is probably the best aspect of the beer as everything was downhill from here for me.

S: I really didn't get alot of the distinguishing vanilla or java characteristics on the nose, unfortunately. I was able to pick out a dash of smoked malts and maybe just a faint kiss of black coffee at the start, but there was an awkward, dark sourness on the nose - not sure if it was oxidation or what, but it was in there and it prevented the vanilla and roast coffee from playing their part in the aroma.

T: The taste is a letdown, like the nose. Not getting much vanilla anywhere in the flavor profile, nor am I getting a whole lot of coffee. Unfortunately, there is a quite noticeable oxidized flavor in there which throws out a crazy wet paper flavor. Only near the finish do I get any sense of the coffee present in this porter, and what is there is faint, along with a split second of cocoa-like chocolate. Really, I think this beer has all the potential to be great - coffee, vanilla and chocolate sounds awesome - but it translates into a mess of a porter.

M: Thin. All I can say.

D: Definitely had better porters that accentuate coffee or vanilla flavors in their profiles. This became a chore to drink after the first couple sips - warming up did not improve anything. Disappointing.

Can't really recommend this over any other coffee-themed beers - so many better American-style porters out there, and particularly of the vanilla persuasion (I think Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is miles ahead of this), not to mention a plethora of better coffee-forward beers. Convinced that I had a bad bottle with the oxidation flavors that were present, but I'm not sure when/if I'll return to this beer to give it a second chance.

Buschyfor3, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a full, deep, rich roasted brown color. The head is off-white, thick, tightly knit, and billowy. Lacing is good.

S: A strong whiff of burnt malts followed by a rush of roastedness comprises the beginning of the nose. Metallic notes and a small vanilla note are present. Not too impressed.

T: Pretty crappy flavor profile for a porter...Twangy, sour, very metallic, some burnt malt/roasted malt notes...Very rough and unrefined. I taste the coffee, but no vanilla. Really no balance, just a mash of sourness, coffee, and metal.

MF/D: Light mouth, good carbonation, sour/coffee finish.


scottyshades, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of youngblood
2.68/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a regular imperial pint glass. About a finger of head, lots of carbonation bubbles, looks rather watery.

Smells decent, some roasted toffee and obviously espresso. None of them are very deep though.

The taste is really nothing more than a watered down version of the smell. Not impresssed.

The mouthfeel is ok, if a little slick.

Has good drinkability as nothing is offending.

youngblood, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of bamadog
3.08/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one has been in my fridge for quite some time now as it was part of a payment for dogsitting for beerman207, but hey, better late than never. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is very dark brown/near black and comes with a short one finger deep tan head with moderate retention; leaves a pretty thick and foamy lacing initially, but it gets a little thinner as it sits; body is largely opaque - a bit one dimensional as there aren't any highlights when held to the light.

Smell: Smell is interesting, it's got some deep roastiness in it, but it's also coming across as a bit smokey as well... Odd... Where's the vanilla? As it warms, it starts to make a bit of an appearance but not what I was expecting.

Taste: Not so good... It's got the roastiness coming through alright, but it's interesting that something called "Vanilla Java Porter" didn't have anything remotely vanilla in the nose until it warmed and then just this pretty big burst of a really artificial vanilla flavoring in the mouth... It kind of muddles everything up and it comes across as just too damn sweet -- it seems that there's some attempt at balance with the hop presence but it doesn't work for me. Sorry, Atwater...

Mouthfeel: Body is a bit watery, but the carbonation is nice and fizzles a bit on the palate - leaves a fair stickiness on the roof of the mouth in the back. A bit average.

Drinkability: Pretty low - the flavors aren't balanced... I feel like they just tried to do too much with something that may be much better off if left a bit simpler.

bamadog, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dirty brown color with one finger of white head.

Scent of weak malts, grain, some grass and a hint pf chocolate. Not impressive, a bit weak.

Taste of weak malts, grain, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. Unimpressive, but not offensive; still rather weak.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and smooth with good carbonation.

paco1029384756, Jul 12, 2009
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,318 ratings.