Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
74
okay

503 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 503
Hads: 1,564
rAvg: 3.2
pDev: 22.19%
Wants: 22
Gots: 280 | 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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 503 | Hads: 1,564
Photo of Jeffreysan
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, deep, dark, almost opaque black color (except for the few speckles of red highlights) with two full fingers of oat-meal-colored head that slowly dissolved into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked dark bread, mixed with lots of roasted coffee, caramel, and of course vanilla.

Taste: A lot like the aroma. Very strong notes of toasted malt, roasted coffee beans and vanilla, followed by some good caramel-like sweetness. Not much in the way of hops, or any bitterness from the coffee. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy. Pretty smooth as there’s hardly any carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 5.5% there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty tasty beer. Good flavors of malt and coffee and vanilla, all nicely balanced into a pretty tasty beer. Nothing spectacular, but recommended to try once for any porter fans out there. (1,057 characters)

Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Black pour with a small tan head that dissipates quickly. Very mild vanilla aroma. Flavor has a nice creamy vanilla flavor upfront backed by a little coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. Light bodied and fairly thin for a porter with medium carbonation. As the beer warms a light roasted malt bitterness comes through as well as a little more chocolate. Good flavors but would be better with a fuller body. (402 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%

A: Dark brown with an amber tinge, no visible carbonation. Topped with 3 fingers of beige head leaving a chunky lacing.


S: Coffee all the way, a good dose of vanilla cream, toasted malts, sweet and coke like.


T: Coffee and vanilla to the point it seems like it’s a black iced coffee. Light sweetness. Good dose of toasted bitterness on the end, light metallic note.


M: Medium thick body, low carbonation.


O: Sticks to the name, vanilla and coffee definitely there. Well done. My first by this brewer. l bought it in Frankenmuth’s Kroger, drank in New Hamburg, ON, Aug 26th, 2014. (600 characters)

Photo of Lordhelmit
3.93/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark as usual of a porter, just sbouy black. Poured with a fine one finger off white head, which has since diminished to a thin film over the beer...but it is still quite noticeable around the edges of my glass.

S - I did not smell too too much to tell you the truth. I do smell the vanilla, and that's about it. Smells kind of like a vanilla root beer.

T - Good. A bit mild. Vanilla, coffee, and dark bitter chocolate on the finish. Quite tasty.

M - Feels a bit thin in the mouth. Creamy, but still a bit watery.

O - Pretty decent! I liked it. Only complaints were the mouthfeel and weak smell. I'll probably buy it again. (631 characters)

Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
3.63/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a single 12 ounce bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance Looks like black coffee, minimal creamy slightly tan head

Smells like a vanilla java coffee drink, very good smell. Has some chocolate smell rolling around in there also.

Taste is very good! Vanilla lots of it! Java coco bean. Roasted malt. Burnt caramel ,

Mouth feel Slightly medium light , lots of tiny bubbles . Good beer mouth feel . after taste is pleasant , Kawfee. Vanilla sweetness coats your lips ,sorta sticky.

Overall I would buy a six pack of these for sure again. It is an easy drinking beer, Great for all us third shift Zombies who crave a beer with our breakfast. I think this is my second or third porter style beer, It would be a great beer to introduce to someone who has not Tried a Porter or a stout Before because it is pretty solid but not too overpowering in the flavor department which can turn some people off. (910 characters)

Photo of RobertClevenger
4/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

S - 12oz bottle poured into tulip

A - Dark brown, nearing black, little to no light passing through, medium brown head

S - Strong vanilla, slight coffee and chocolate

T - Vanilla is strong up front, just a little trace of coffee and some bitterness that is reminiscent of dark bitter chocolate

M - Medium body, not too light, bordering on medium/heavy

O - A good, solid beer. I'd love to put down a sixer of this stuff. I would definitely buy it again. (457 characters)

Photo of jaredtp
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is dark brown, with a vanilla aroma to it. It also has notes of chocolate and roast melt to it. Th finish has aroasted coffee tast to it. It has a chocolate taste through the whole beer. It has more of a vanilla taste then a coffee taste to it. (254 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, vanilla aroma, with notes of chocolate and roast malt. The flavor reveals light roast malt, a touch of a tangy character, and a roasty coffee finish. Notes of chocolate wave throughout. More vanilla than coffee, which makes me happy. Probably my second favorite from Atwater, as I like the voodoo, as well. (318 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.63/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is a finger high and mocha in shade. Retention really isn't bad at all, and - though it's hard to pick it up - a nice ring of lacing is left behind.

S: Without a doubt, there are big vanilla notes coming through. The problem is, the vanilla comes across as being too extract-y and chemical. Not getting much coffee or base porter. After a while, the nose develops an almond character. It doesn't smell bad - in fact, the aroma is quite acceptable - it's just too chemical.

T: It starts off with a ton of vanilla. This note drops off past the mid-palate, giving way to...jack. Okay, I lied: it's a bit chocolaty near the finish. But really, that's it. It's a vanilla bomb, and even this note is hampered by its chemical tendencies. And just where's the damn coffee, anyways? Could have fooled me...

M: I like a dry porter, but this feels genuinely insubstantial. Worse yet, it's not even that dry, just flimsy and overly sweet. Good carbonation tries to cleanse the finish somewhat, but to no avail.

O: I'd never refuse a free one. It's not making me retch. It's also better than the last Atwater I had yesterday (so is just about every other beer I've had in the past couple months). But as a porter, it's just not particularly successful. Not only does the dominant flavor come off as artificial, there's literally nothing else to it. Dare I say it tastes like a porter that would come from Blue Moon or Shock Top? Yep, I'm totally saying it. It's going to take a lot for Atwater to get back in my good graces after 2 stinkers. (1,609 characters)

Photo of sween100
3.28/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I'm not much of a stout/porter person but this one was very good. Tasted it when it became available on tap at the bar I work at. Very smooth and creamy taste. Lots of coffee and chocolate taste in this stout. Not so heavy where it's unpleasant to eat with food. Overall a good beer for either dinner or desert. (311 characters)

Photo of sonnens4
4.04/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very very dark brown/dark black color, cannot tell if it is hazy or cloudy, with a decent sized head around 1 inch which is a light mocha color

Smell: Vanilla, Mocha, Nutty, Caramel

Taste: At first slightly sweet with a vanilla flavor, but the lasting aftertaste leaves you with more of a mocha coffee flavor that is heavier and slightly more bitter--interesting transition of flavors

Mouthfeel: well balanced, slightly carbonated, not overwhelming

Overall: Delicious! I am not a huge fan of Porter's but this one got my attention--really appreciate the coffee undertones (I'm a coffee addict), and it's a great beer to pair with food as well (658 characters)

Photo of myelo
3.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Opaque dark brown to black. You could view an eclipse through this and your retinas would survive. Medium tan head with a bit of lacing.

Medium roast coffee and vanilla aroma with a hint of earthy malt.

Flavor is mostly vanilla with some coffee and roasted malt. Low hop bitterness and no obvious ethanol.

Light, thin body with medium carbonation.

I really wanted to like this -- porter, coffee, vanilla -- what's not to like? But the overall impression is too thin and watery. Also the vanilla seems somehow artificial. When I tried my first bottle I was underwhelmed so I waited a week and tried another bottle, this time letting it warm some. That helped a bit but I'm still disappointed by the thin body and not enough complexity. (738 characters)

Photo of BeerDazed
3.04/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark black into a standard pint.

This had very little smell...Looking for some vanilla here. Just a hint. Nothing else.

No head whatsover. It looked thin and, after the first sip, mouthfeel coincided with the look of this brew.

The taste...Not much vanilla (slight) or coffee. Mildly bitter in the finish. Pretty weak. (330 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
3.94/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer was my introduction to real craft beer. Before this, I drank decent stuff, like Blue Moon, Shock Top and some Leinenkugel's. I still like Summer Shandy's in the Summer, but VJP was my first, craft, dark porter I ever liked, and introduced my the this world.

Appearance: Coca Cola... My first thought. Dark, but with red tinge around the edges. Light does shine through.

Smell: This is the best part of this beer. The vanilla over powers the Java.

Taste: Again Vanilla over powers the Java. The Vanilla tastes a bit artificial. I'd like for there to be more coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy. My kind of beer.

Overall: As I said this was the beer that introduced my to the craft beer world. While it's no longer my favorite, I will still gladly drink this beer with enjoyment. (797 characters)

Photo of Badger6
3.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark, dark brown, passes no light. Almost no head, minimal lace.

S: Vanilla and sweet malt.

T: Leads with vanilla, that carries through the beer. The sweet malts come in after the vanilla and carry to the end. There is a mild roasty note that underlays the beer after the initial hit of vanilla, and that carries almost to the end. There is a maltiness that lingers after the finish.

M: Heavy feeling body, with a soft feel. Some carbonation, but not prickly.

O: A decent vanilla porter, but not great. This is a sweet, mildly roasted, vanilla porter, which is truthfully just not my style, but I'm glad I tried it. It was enjoyable, to taste, but I really think to get into it, one needs to be a fan of this style. (754 characters)

Photo of Boggdogg
3.99/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark brown color with a small cream colored head with a small amount of lacing. This is the only disappointment of the beer, but by no means terrible.

S - as expected a strong coffee smell with sweet vanilla. Can tell that there is some complexity to the beer.

T - excellent taste of vanilla at first followed by a cream taste and finishing with bitter coffee. Kind of resembles a cream soda taste. Good balance but just a little too sweet.

M - medium bodied and very smooth slightly dry.

O - terrific beer mostly because of its complex taste. One of my favorites! (584 characters)

Photo of timmy2b
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a goblet glass

Dark Black color with a very small ring of white foam along the edges of the glass.

Scents of vanilla and some caramel with a little bit of malt.

very light Vanilla flavor on the tounge with a nice porter malt for the taste.

Light in the mouthfeel with a little bit of bitterness and a slight amount of nuttiness.

Decent beer, but nothing to write home about. (398 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
3.56/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Hops and Crafts in Nashville. Pretty nice sweet porter. Roasted malts and strong but not overpowering vanilla notes. I didn't get as much coffee flavoring as I'd expected. Very creamy mouthfeel. Dark brown color with a light tan head. I think a little underrated. (282 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.65/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Black but for the edges, a tan, smooth-looking foam is produced on the pour but dissipates to a ring around the glass. No lacing (I'm concerned). Some carbonation is visible. I think I saw a bit of residue slide down my glass after the last gulp.

S: Vanilla bean is most prominent, cream-and-sugar-added coffee is in the background. Really mouthwatering, actually. No typical beer ingredients seen (malt, hops, etc).

T: Mostly vanilla bean, not much coffee to be seen, sadly. Sweet, with a bit of bitterness coming through at the end. A little too heavy with vanilla, very little balance in this aspect.

M: Nice and smooth, if a bit watery.

O: For a stylized beer, this isn't bad. Definitely brings both vanilla and java, if unbalanced and without much depth besides those notes. Wouldn't recommend it to people looking for traditional, balanced beers, but for equally unbalanced pairings (ice cream, chocolate brownie, a dessert by itself) I would suggest a tasting. (974 characters)

Photo of Pegasus
3.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: All but opaque deep amber body with a modest, scattered coarse white head, with scattered, patchy lacing. The head retention is slight.

Aroma: Deep, sweet aroma of cocoa, like cold chocolate Nestle-Quik, it seems deeper than chocolate milk. There is also a pleasant, although understated vanilla aroma.

Taste: Opens with sweet semi-sweet chocolate, followed by lightly toasted malt. As the taste progresses, there is a slight herbal hop presence, although quite understated. Throughout the taste, there is a very mild undercurrent of vanilla, although if realized visually, it would be at the corner of the eye, never seen head-on. Finishes with a mild wave of roasted malt, and a slight burst of mild herbal hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and pleasant, although a bit thin.

Drinkability/notes: Not bad, although I wish it was more "over-the-top" in terms of aroma and flavor.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice. (1,026 characters)

Photo of asaharyev
3.49/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Extremely dark brown with a bit of light brown head. The beer has no haziness to it, but it’s tough to tell with the color so dark.

Aroma: Vanilla and coffee, with some bitterness and chocolate. Not much else jumping out.

Taste: A bunch of vanilla up front, with a bready sort of character, and coffee filling in the background. Fairly straightforward, with a touch of bitterness at the end, and a light, smooth mouthfeel. Not really that much to talk about here.

Overall: A straightforward porter that won’t make a meal by itself. It’s got a good flavor, and drinks smoothly, but I find myself wanting a bit more complexity. Probably a good party beer. (668 characters)

Photo of Une_Petit_Citrouille
3.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I loved the smell of this beer, but it was a little much for me. Maybe it's just a taste I have to get used to. I didn't really taste much of the vanilla, but there was definitely a very strong coffee taste- but black coffee. I have a few bottles left, so maybe I'll experiment with it. Overall, not bad at all, just not my favorite! (333 characters)

Photo of Murphious
3.24/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours witha dark cola color and slight head, almost the same as a glass of cola. Head disappears quickly. Aroma of vanilla and maybe slight chocolate---no smell of coffee. Letting it warm slightly gives more vanilla aroma.
Taste is vanilla beer with slight bitterness from coffee after taste. Mouthfeel is thin compared to most. Overall this is not offensive in any way and somewhat easy to drink compared to most porters since it seems somewhat "light". I would prefer more malt. (481 characters)

Photo of rdilauro
3.59/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Since stouts are my favorites, just step down a notch and when I was brewing my own, porters were my choice.
Unfortunately, we had this one from the bottle, so I could not really detail the look and appearance of this brew, so I remained neutral. But even from the bottle, you could get generous amounts of coffee swirling around the bottle as if you were ready to have a nice cup of vanilla java coffee!

The taste did not disappoint me, but I just felt it was a bit on the light side. This might be unfair of me, since, I understand porters in general are a little lighter than stocks. I've been drinking so many stocks lately, that I may have made an unfair compassion.

But still, even on the light side, this was full of flavor. The vanilla didn't come out as much as the strong coffee, taste and the java was so smooth. (825 characters)

Photo of workingclassbrew
2.86/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I have wanted to try this for awhile, maybe not a traditional beer, but coffee, and vanilla are two of Gods good gifts.

Poured from a bottle into a small old school tavern glass. Poured dark brown, slick oil like. No foam.

When you swirl the bottle definite coffee, and less, but present chocolate comes out. The coffee aroma is not bitter, I think smoothed out by the vanilla.

Well the coffee, and chocolate/vanilla is front, and center from the 1st taste. As I let it warm a bit this taste just gets heavier, but with more vanilla coming through. Not much malt which makes it a little thin on the tongue. No hops present. Becomes much sweeter as it warms, if you let it sit for a while in the mouth it tastes like a light imperial stout, a little fig taste. The novelty though wears out along the way.

Something different. Ok to try. Sounds a lot better than it taste (877 characters)

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 503 ratings.