1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,235 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,235
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.41%
Wants: 7
Gots: 93 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,235 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

feloniousmonk, Jul 16, 2008
Photo of smcolw
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

smcolw, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of IronCitySteve
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

IronCitySteve, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of dewalt
3.55/5  rDev +5%
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.

dewalt, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of jamie2dope
2.35/5  rDev -30.5%
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

jamie2dope, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of Getinthevan
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

Getinthevan, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of Matty1918
3.55/5  rDev +5%
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.

Matty1918, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of BDIMike
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

BDIMike, May 16, 2008
Photo of DrDogbeer
2.65/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

DrDogbeer, May 13, 2008
Photo of jackorain
2.65/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

jackorain, May 12, 2008
Photo of Taffle
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Taffle, May 12, 2008
Photo of thequeen711
3.48/5  rDev +3%
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!

thequeen711, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of Cromster
1.85/5  rDev -45.3%
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.

Cromster, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of Slynger
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

Slynger, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
3.38/5  rDev 0%
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.

scruffwhor, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of dedrinker
2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

dedrinker, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of dragonglen
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

dragonglen, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.13/5  rDev +22.2%
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.

OWSLEY069, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of americanwolfdrea
4.97/5  rDev +47%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was recommended to me by the waitress and the restaurant I was at. It had an exceptional appearance in the glass, nice deep and robust looking. It had a nice head or tannish foam. I definately detected the vanilla and coffee aromas in it. I liked the way it finished and would reccommend it to anyone wno is a coffee and beer fanatic.

americanwolfdrea, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Very dark, nearly black with a creamy light brown head. Good retention and moderate lacing.

S: Malts on the nose with a mild coffee aroma.

T: Mild but sweet maltiness is first on the tongue, with the light coffee flavors coming through just moments later. I couldn't specifically taste the vanilla in the brew but I can certainly pick out the effects - the general smoothness and blending of flavors is great. Nothing jumps out and screams for attention here, but that's kind of what makes this good. Everything plays together nicely and just has an enjoyable mildness to it.

M&D: Mouthfeel is generally good but just a little bit thin on the tongue after a few seconds. Don't get me wrong, I really liked this but compared to other porters, this one is just a little thin. As for drinkability, this goes down so smooth and easy that I could enjoy several in a row before considering something else. Give this one a try. Good stuff.

SIRIUS2, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of Goliath
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with deep red hues at its edges. One finger of mocha colored head sits on top, retention is poor.

aroma shows some bitter coffee, sweet vanilla, and a slight smokiness.

Taste holds good coffee notes, the vanilla is present but on the subtle side. Also a subtle smokiness.

Mouthfeel is much thinner than I expected. A very thick body would make this beer much better. There is also too much carbonation. This beer would be more enjoyable if it were sort of still.

Drinkability is moderate. The low level of alcohol makes for easy consumption, but the flavor and body would get annoying after a few.

Goliath, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of berserker256
4.93/5  rDev +45.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a light brown head. Heavy lacing. Smells just as the name implies. Heavy coffee aroma with a hint of vanilla. Kind of smells like a coffee that has vanilla flavored creamer in it but transformed into a porter. Smells great. And tastes awesome. Tastes likes a perfectly brewed porter with the exact amount of coffee and vanilla flavor that there should be. Not too overpowering and not too faint. But exactly right. It has the consistancy of of thin fizzy milkshake. Very easy to drink. I think this beer's getting the highest rating I've ever given a beer and therefore must be my favorite beer. I have to say that I agree with that logic. This is my new favorite beer... Or at least a tie...

berserker256, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of ExpertAndrew
4.83/5  rDev +42.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite beer i discovered it a few months ago and pick up a draft every chance i get. I am not usually a huge fan of flavored beers but i feel that they nailed this one. It has a nice strong smell and taste of both coffee and vanilla. The appearance is a deep dark color almost that of a strong coffee. I am not totally sure how you would judge mouthfeel at this point but it seems smooth not too carbonated just a nice feel hopefully that is what is meant by this. I would highly rate this beer to anyone. I dont know how it is in a bottle i am trying to find some but on tap it is just great.

ExpertAndrew, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of cooperkeg
4.18/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was given to me by a friend telling me I needed to try it. I was impressed with it's color deep and black. Before I could even bring the glass close I got a wafting of vanilla. I thought it was a little lean in the mouth. I wanted more of a round mouthfeel, but the flavors of molassis, vanilla and roasty chocolate malts more than enough to turn me in to a fan. A great choice as an after dinner beer or to pair with dessert.

cooperkeg, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of number1bum
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another one courtesy of mymrnngjckt.

Pours a murky looking chestnut brown color with two fingers of fizzy light beige head. Head recedes pretty quickly though, and leaves only a thin whispy lace and no stick.

Smell has some coffee in it, along with some roasted malt. I don't get the vanilla yet, nor any hop aromas that would be typical of a porter.

Taste is, hmm...weak. Not getting a whole lot of flavor at all. It starts off with some coffee flavor but it's thin. There's also a bit of roasted malt, and some vanilla. But nothing really stand out and it's quite bland. Again not much in the way of hops, either. Mouthfeel is less than medium bodied and is basically just too thin. Watery and bland.

Eh, this is nothing special at all. Not much flavor, not much to get excited about.

number1bum, Feb 04, 2008
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.