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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.

1,211 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,211
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: 1,211 | Reviews: 458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aerozeppl
3.48/5  rDev +3%

On tap at Mahars

A: Super dark brown with 2 fingers of mocha head. Great lacing from top to bottom.

S: More vanilla than coffee. Lots of sweetness came through in the nose. Some hints of chocolate.

T: Again the vanilla dominated. Would of liked to see more coffee in the taste. Very sweet in the finish.

M: Super creamy. Nitro tap did not hurt I am fairly sure.

D: Just had a quick pint. Not bad but not something I would actively seek out again. The Kuhnhenn creme brule java stout is a much better beer if you are looking for something along these lines.

aerozeppl, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of Siggy125
2.25/5  rDev -33.4%

This type of beer is right up my alley, I've had quite a few of these and look forward to trying new ones. Pours a nice light chocolate brown in color, dense tan head fades fairly quick. The coffee taste comes across as more of a bitter instant coffee with mild sweetness. Tried 2-3 sips to adjust to the bitterness and find some vanilla, but no luck. I was disappointed and barely finished the 1 bottle. Sorry, but didn't care for it.

Siggy125, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.03/5  rDev +19.2%

Grabbed it before I jumped the border, again, at Port Huron, MI and sampled this one a few months later. Poured out of the bottle an opaque brown with almost no permeating light. Khaki head one finger thick did not retain well but the lacing was good. Great aroma of bold, Kona coffee, malt sweetness and some vanilla. The flavors were dominated by the espresso-like richness of coffee roasted malt sweetness in the middle and a biter coffee finish again at the end. The vanilla character is hard to discern and was more distinct in the fresh bottles I sampled as opposed to this aged one. The heavy body is punctuated by medium/high carbonation. More one dimensional with time but still quite enjoyable.

thekevlarkid, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of fdrich29
4/5  rDev +18.3%

One of the few beers I was able to try while serving as a captain of volunteers at the American Beer Fest in Boston. Enjoyed it so much I contacted the brewery and distributors to see if it was available in Massachusetts. Found it at Kappy's in Wellington Circle and grabbed a six pack.

I love a beer that delivers what it advertises. The vanilla extract is very nice, not too sweet or over the top, but provides flavor. The sweetness mixed with the coffee beans makes this a simple, yet special beer. Highly enjoyable beer to drink.

fdrich29, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of brushtachio
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%

Looked nice. Typical of the style. Smell was much too boozy. Vanilla smell was more artificial, extract style rather than a true vanilla bean scent. Taste followed the nose closely. No coffee that i could detect. Very thin, watery mouthfeel. Won't be coming back to this one.

brushtachio, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of biggred1
2.65/5  rDev -21.6%

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.

biggred1, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of horshack7
4.6/5  rDev +36.1%

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

horshack7, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of benito
2.7/5  rDev -20.1%

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.

benito, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of danielocean03
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%

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.

danielocean03, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%

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.

Jwale73, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of cnally
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%

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.

cnally, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of SMADMS
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%

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

SMADMS, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of bwalz786
2.35/5  rDev -30.5%

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.

bwalz786, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of argock
2.78/5  rDev -17.8%

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.

argock, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of auxiliary
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%

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.

auxiliary, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of sraimondi
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

sraimondi, Aug 07, 2008
Photo of oneeye
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%

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.

oneeye, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of phattysbox
1.93/5  rDev -42.9%

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...

phattysbox, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of clayrock81
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

clayrock81, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
2.68/5  rDev -20.7%

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.

Reagan1984, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of kinger
2.75/5  rDev -18.6%

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.

kinger, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
2.35/5  rDev -30.5%

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

jwinship83, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of klintok21
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%

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.

klintok21, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of MadTown1000
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%

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.

MadTown1000, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

OtherShoe2, Jul 21, 2008
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,211 ratings.