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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.

1,270 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,270
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.41%
Wants: 9
Gots: 106 | 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: 1,270 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sliverX
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poored a dark brown/black unable to hold glass to light and see through. Head was about nonexistent and quickly dissipated. Taste as advertised very strong burnt coffee taste with a slight hint of vanilla, unfortunately the taste just isn't pleasant to me. Reading the bottle where it states it's a malt beverage brewed with coffee beans and vanilla extract added seems a bit like cheating to me... personal preference

sliverX, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
2.42/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Didn't know what to expect from this one. Randomly picked it off the shelf because I really liked the concept of the porter.

A- Dark black color looking something like oil. Dissapointing sized head about the size of my pinky finger. After a few sips, all that was left was the liquid. Also, there was no lacing at all. Some stickiness around the rim of the glass.

S- To be honest, I love coffee. I really do. I drink a ton of coffee per day. This coffee smelled like the coffee grinds that are left over after you brew a pot. I'm not kidding. Wet coffee grinds. Nothing else going on here. Some sweetness. I was not excited to try this as the smell completely turned me off.

T- Burnt coffee and old coffee.Vanilla extract is a reach. Not much chocolate or mocha. This is not good at all. Very watery. Yikes.

M- Overly carbonated, watery, and very thin.

D- Avoid this one. It's just not good. The concept is there but it misses the mark on many different aspects. I was kinda shocked that this one wasn't better. How could you go wrong with coffee and vanilla? This one somehow went wrong.

DavidSeanNJ, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Atwater- Vanilla Java Porter

A- Thin black with a finger thick head but quick dissipation. No lacing.
S- Nice dry cocoa powder, oak, vanilla, and bbq sauce.
T- Light sweet cocoa with hints of vanilla, brown sugar, pepper, and oak. Most flavors are light and subdued.
M- Dry and oaky up front with a sweet malty body and a watery weak finish.

Overall- Another Atwater beer thats starts off good but fizzles. Very good aroma and initial sip but is just lacking near the bottom. Worthy of trying though!

NJpadreFan, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Pours a deep dark dirty copper with at first a large fizzy two and a half inch head that quickly bubbles down into a thinish cap

S: Smells pretty nice, sort of like the Bell's porter, if just a bit more watery. The java and vanilla are there but I sort of feel as though I am being cheated out of something in this aroma, as if the beer is trying to make itself better than it actually is. Smells a bit like Dijon mustard.

T/MF: Again the same problem, hints of coffee and vanilla but more fruity and watery, mild graininess, sort of salty. Tastes almost like Lays potato chips and while that might be a good thing for chips, it's certainly not a good thing for beer.

D: Easy drinking if compared to Miller Lite or other BMC beers, but considering there are so many other excellent porters out there, this beer is an otherwise big disappointment.

bluemoonswoon, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
1.25/5  rDev -63%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A big "psssfffftt" as I uncap it. Usually not a good sign. I pour a half glass of foam with a careful pour. Usually not a good sign. Smells weird. Usually not a good sign. Tastes bad. Definitely not a good sign. No redeeming qualities to this beer. Overcarbonated and astringent. No good tastes. I'm not gonna drink this one.

Bighuge, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
1.25/5  rDev -63%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - A really thick and creamy brown head installs itself permanently above a viscous black brew with chestnut highlights. A fair amount of spotty lace sticks around after big sheets of foam slide down into the blackness.

S - Bitter black coffee is spiked with what I swear to God smells like Louisiana hot sauce. This oddball combo isn't the best aroma in the world...far from it actually. Pepper and salt.

T - This is honestly pretty foul. That weird Louisiana Hot Sauce note is still there, and this tastes like black peppercorns with sea salt crusted on top.

M - Light bodied, thin, and undercarbonated. This finishes pretty clean and neutral, which is a blessing given the horrid flavor.

D - Never again. This is not good beer.

pmcadamis, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of ATPete
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- The vanilla java porter pours a dark brown color with a small tan head.

S- Lots of roasted coffee and chocolate malt in the nose.

T- Smokey in initial flavor with notes of barrel age, im guessing from the vanilla, lots of toasty malts, no real hop character but round enough. Coffee is huge on the finish/ aftertaste.

M- light/medium in body, no where near as chewy as it should be at least. This one was a borderline disappointment.

ATPete, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of mixcat
2/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is a pretty bad tasting beer. Its like Java pop soda that went bad and they made beer out of it. We payed $9 for the six pack.. This is not a high end beer nor is it worth $9 I would say its more like a $5 six.. Very different is the best thing I can say about it. I wouldn't bother with it.

mixcat, Oct 01, 2008
Photo of orcasteve
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this one is lacking vanilla flavor, in fact i dont taste it at all, i do notice nice dark malt and a strong black coffiee flavor, at the end i notace some hops balanceing this one out. this is disapointang to me, i love coffiee, vanilla and porter so this one had great potential, but the only thing this one does well is the coffiee

orcasteve, Sep 30, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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 11, 2008
Photo of biggred1
2.65/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sraimondi, Aug 07, 2008
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,270 ratings.