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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter | Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ypsifly on 10-21-2006

User Reviews
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Reviews: 525 | Ratings: 1,681
Photo of BeerConny
4.17/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you like coffee, more specifically vanilla flavored coffee, you will probably like this. I love coffee and this is fairly good. My only problem with this beer is that the flavor is not strong enough. The flavor itself is good but it's a little weak. This is a porter for the wussies! Hardly any bitterness at all. But without judging it for what it is, it's definately not bad.

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Photo of shanegatter
3.4/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Nice vanilla taste, wished it would have been a smooth beer with a vanilla aroma, got tired of it pretty quickly, thought it was better the first time I had it??

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Photo of mchegash
3.88/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pours an extremely dark red-brown, looks almost black unless you hold it up to a light. About 1.5 fingers of medium-tan head upon initial pour, dissipates down to about half a finger. Overall, a pretty beer.

Smell - 4/5
Strong vanilla smell with some coffee, roasted malts and maybe a hint of alcohol. The smell of the vanilla is really nice, and I was surprised at how pronounced it was in the aroma.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tastes like the smell for the most part. A vanilla flavor mixed with light roasted coffee notes. Moderately sweet. Slightly metallic, especially near the end of the sip. Overall the flavor was nice, though I think slightly less than the aroma (though obviously I'd still prefer to drink this beer then to smell it!).

Mouthfeel - 4/5
This beer is crisp, with a medium-high carbonation level. Medium bodied. Overall a good feel.

Overall - 3.75/5
This is one of the few Atwater brews I actually like. It's a decent brew, and a great value if you're looking for a vanilla/java stout type beer.

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Photo of Andrew041180
2.7/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I didn't look favorably upon this one. All sorts of head retention and appearance were off on a style that I didn't think could really vary in appearance. It smelled okay. Taste was predominately vanilla, but sortof a fake, superficial vanilla. Feel was thin and oily. No substance. My friend gave me two. I'm not sure what to do with the second.

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Photo of Grichard
4.15/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

New to trying porters and this is very good. I usually don't like coffee porters/stouts but this is a lighter coffee flavor, but still nice and dark beer. Probably a very personal rating, not so objective.

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Photo of vince_arch_beer
3.76/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(Appearance) Very dark, almost black in low light. Mid-20s SRM.

(Smell) Can absolutely smell the vanilla within, but the scent that reigns over all is the roasted malts that show through pretty well, at least to the nostril at first whiff. Very little coffee aroma at first smell, had to go back a few times to actually dig into that scent.

(Taste) Not heavy, which I enjoy because some Porters can overdo their depths. Once again the malts are the primary flavor here only slightly backed by the subtleties of vanilla and a weaker coffee backbone. It's very crisp for a porter, perhaps because it has a relatively low ABV.

(Mouthfeel) Very nice carb. Smooth. Easy to drink, besides the depth of the malts it wouldn't be hard to drink a few of these.

(Overall) Not a bad beer. Definitely not worthy of a case, but for once if I got this in a variety pack as a Porter I think I'd be alright with it. Overall, I do think it's missing some complexity, the vanilla and coffee is certainly subtle (I appreciate that it's not overdone) but it absolutely could have been played up some more.

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Photo of Ian_B
1.95/5  rDev -40%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is no porter. This is Pure Darkness, like a black hole that obliterates all enjoyable flavour.

Smells like vanilla water; gross.

Tastes like vanilla water, with maybe a hint of roasted... something... (dare I call that coffee?).

Pretty much the porter equivalent of Bud Light, or worse.

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Photo of gotweid
4.5/5  rDev +38.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night. No head. Aroma of coffee, vanilla chocolate & malt. Vanilla dominates the taste and the coffee mixes in nicely. Light on hops. Super smooth, rich brew. Wonderful sipping beer.

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Photo of DandyD
4.1/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our team really likes this beer. The only thing we've noticed is the batches aren't consistent. Varying amounts of vanilla and coffee. Seems Atwater is trying to find the right balance.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled in 10/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear very dark brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, brown bread, vanilla, light nuttiness, light herbal, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and coffee/vanilla spice notes; with decent strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, vanilla, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, light herbal, and toasted earthiness. Light coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, vanilla, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good complexity and solid robustness of dark/roasted malt and vanilla/coffee spice flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very solid spiced porter style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and vanilla/coffee spice flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6% abv

Appearance- Black and opaque with a chocolate brown two finger head.

Smell- Hints of chocolate, with vanilla coming through heavily. Roasted coffee bean in there as well.

Taste- Coffee comes in first and lasts through the whole taste profile. Bits of vanilla make their way in as well. It finishes with a dry, roasted coffee bean flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy and creamy in texture.

Overall- A decent porter but the coffee taste is quite strong. If you like coffee beers this would be a good one. I would of liked a little more complexity but it was ok.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +23.1%

Poured a dark black body with a thin tan head.
Aroma has a roasty malt smell to it.
the taste has a nice vanilla taste followed by some roast notes and a little chocolate.
the mouthfeel is a little weak but overall very tastym

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Photo of Juleshick
4.25/5  rDev +30.8%

I've had really good experiences with this beer, despite reviews about poor quality control. This is a nice rich beer with a great coffee after taste that isn't too overpowering.

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Photo of PiyushAgarwal
3/5  rDev -7.7%

Had the same experience as DannyMick131. The first bottle I opened was pretty awful... extremely bitter and turned me off the beer..(almost was tempted to just chuck the 6-pack but that would be an abuse of alcohol. Realized I still had 5 left today, so opened a 2nd one and this one was much better. Lack of quality control I suppose? We'll see how the rest turn out.

Tastes like a vanilla infused dark roast (almost overburnt coffee really..) but otherwise it's alright.

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Photo of DannyMick131
2.75/5  rDev -15.4%

Eh. 1 out of the first 5 of the case was bad, like rotten milk bad. The bottle seemed sealed if I remember correctly, but it was off by far. I had a few that tasted pretty solid. Another go at the case on a different night had me pour out 3 of them because they seemed flat/tasteless. Of the ones that seem ok, the mouth feel is a bit watery. Vanilla extract is prominent. Coffee? I don't taste much coffee, maybe it is the base and the vanilla is up front, I don't know. I am concerned with what I feel is a lack of consistency bottle to bottle. If I didn't waste so many already, I'd probably return the case, although I have never had to do that before. If I had to give advice, I'd say avoid it. The best I have tasted in this category is Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is also solid, but no coffee there.

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Photo of rangahy
3.75/5  rDev +15.4%

Pretty good for a coffee porter. I'm usually not a coffee beer guy. I like coffee and I like beer, but usually the two shant mix. This is a decent malty beer, goes down smooth. My one complaint would be the lack of ...robust... flavor. It was in the single digits with a nasty wind chill. I could have had something a bit more warming.

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Photo of scotorum
3.96/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

a:Opaque black with brown highlights when seen through light. Finger thick tan head receded to spotty surface foam and slight spotty lacing.

s: Vanilla and coffee as advertised.

t: Follows the nose. Very pleasant!

m: Light to moderate, good body, some carbonation tingle.

o: An enjoyable cafe latte brew, the vanilla and coffee flavors mask any porter smoke.

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Photo of dmgeng
3/5  rDev -7.7%

Trying to decide if I want to add vanilla and coffee to my homebrew and figured it'd be best to sample a commercial form first.

A - Deep brown color. Slightly cloudy. Light brown head with medium staying power and large bubbles. Medium to light lacing.

S - Muddled porter character with some chocolate, roastiness, and some cold coffee.

T - The beer has a very mixed flavor and not doing it very well. You can tell it is a dark beer from the burnt chocolate and light coffee tones. Its sweet in the middle with the vanilla but it isn't clean and doesn't pop as a good vanilla character should. Mostly the taste of old Folger's coffe is the predominant flavor with some porter flavors after the fact.
M - Light to medium mouth-feel. Light to moderate carbonation. Not too much body and not very clean on the finish.

Overall, not a very good craft beer. It just seemed dirty and not any delicious flavors came through. Unfortunately I wouldn't recommend this beer.

Glass- Stout glass

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.33/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On draft into shaker pint
Aroma of vanilla and coffee
Head removed by bartender: remaining is light brown endings as 2 mm ring
Lacing good – complete rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark reddish brown, clear
Flavor of vanilla and coffee – not overpowering, lightly sweet; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 3.25, Palate 3, Overall 3.25

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Photo of louisianajones
3.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Just got this one from Crazy Bruce in Bristol, CT as part of a mixed sixer. Poured it into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours and looks exactly like a Coke, except the head is darker and dissipated quickly. Coffee, caramel, and vanilla on the nose. Nice. Maybe some malt lurking around in there too.

Too carbonated. I had a chocolate stout from this brewery almost exactly a year ago and had the same issue with the chocolate stout. Must be a thing with this brewery.

This beer doesn't seem to have the issue that the chocolate stout had with body, though. While it still could have more body than it does, it still has a pretty good mouthfeel. Same coffee and caramel notes in the taste as in the nose, not so much of the nose's vanilla. Decent malt taste in there with a coffee finish. Leaves a coffee aftertaste.

I like this better than I like this brewery's chocolate stout. This tastes more like beer with the coffee/caramel/vanilla notes. Carbonation seems to settle down also as it warms. Pretty good stuff. I wouldn't rush out to buy another one, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at it either.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev +21.5%

12 oz. bottle, with the label notched at bottled in sometime in June 2014. Acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local beer store; it's been a long time since I last drank a beer from this brewery, so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. No abv listed on the bottle anywhere.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - It pours a murky chocolatey brown colored body, with about a finger of off-white cream colored head. Leaves behind some thin lacing. Looks a little thin, but still very nice. 4

S - The aroma is pleasant enough - very creamy, milky, and chocolatey. Coffee is noticeable, but not what I would describe as roasty, but that isn't a problem. It could use a little more oomph, but I think it smells very nice. 4

T - Taste follows the nose - milk / cream / lactose, soft vanilla bean, chocolate, & some caramel malts. Simple, but flavorful enough to keep things interesting. I am actually really enjoying this one.

M - The feel is smooth & creamy, if maybe a little bit thin and watery as a minor flaw. Light-bodied and highly flavorful for a 6.00% abv porter. Sticky, milky & creamy finish. 3.5

Overall, while it isn't the greatest, I was pleasantly surprised, especially considering this beer's current low rating. It could stand to be a bit more full-bodied, but otherwise it is a nice choice. Very drinkable stuff. I am looking forward to more from Atwater Brewery.

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter -----4/5.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.75/5  rDev +15.4%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a "pint" glass. Pours pitch black with a brown head that dissipates quickly. Smells of coffee, not much else. Tastes of coffee with some vanilla and very slight berry. Beer is light/medium bodied, good carbonation, great finish. Overall an above average beer.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.75/5  rDev +15.4%

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.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +15.4%

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.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 525 ratings.