Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

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499 Reviews
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Reviews: 499
Hads: 1,547
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 22.26%
Wants: 21
Gots: 268 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ypsifly on 10-21-2006

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 499 | Hads: 1,547
Photo of bwalz786
2.42/5  rDev -24.1%
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. (391 characters)

Photo of argock
2.81/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (776 characters)

Photo of auxiliary
3.1/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (517 characters)

Photo of sraimondi
3.83/5  rDev +20.1%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of oneeye
3.97/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (504 characters)

Photo of phattysbox
1.98/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

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... (834 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.5/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (810 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
2.7/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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. (918 characters)

Photo of kinger
2.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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. (693 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
2.38/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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 (379 characters)

Photo of klintok21
3.23/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (389 characters)

Photo of MadTown1000
2.5/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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. (728 characters)

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.65/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (798 characters)

Photo of ryseone
4.92/5  rDev +54.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Brownish black like mixing all your paints together. With a brown head almost has highlights of red and gold
Aroma: A great caramel malt with a coco sweet glow and some toffee notes and then the bittering hops
Taste: A great thick caramel coffee toffee rush that bashes into a great bittering hops with a clean finish into a thick head very creamy and the vanilla is subtle but present
Notes: A great porter reminds me of Rogue's American porter. And it came from Michigan! Still things can surprise me (517 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.7/5  rDev +16%
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! (559 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.13/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.44/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (559 characters)

Photo of dewalt
3.55/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (306 characters)

Photo of jamie2dope
2.41/5  rDev -24.5%
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 (738 characters)

Photo of Getinthevan
4.05/5  rDev +27%
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. (984 characters)

Photo of Matty1918
3.57/5  rDev +11.9%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of BDIMike
2.97/5  rDev -6.9%
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. (602 characters)

Photo of DrDogbeer
2.7/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (422 characters)

Photo of jackorain
2.7/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (608 characters)

Photo of Taffle
3.19/5  rDev 0%
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. (571 characters)

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 499 ratings.