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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

511 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 511
Hads: 1,603
Avg: 3.24
pDev: 38.27%
Wants: 24
Gots: 309 | 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: 511 | Hads: 1,603
Photo of DannyMick131
2.75/5  rDev -15.1%

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 +15.7%

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 +22.2%
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 -7.4%

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 +2.8%
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 +8%

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 +21.9%

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 +15.7%

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 +15.7%

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 +8%

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 +15.7%

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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Photo of Lordhelmit
3.93/5  rDev +21.3%
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.

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Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
3.63/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of RobertClevenger
4/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

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Photo of jaredtp
3.5/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.42/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.63/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

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Photo of sween100
3.28/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of sonnens4
4.04/5  rDev +24.7%
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

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Photo of myelo
3.01/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of BeerDazed
3.04/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of EvoRich
3.94/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

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Photo of Badger6
3.37/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of Boggdogg
3.99/5  rDev +23.1%
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!

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Photo of timmy2b
3.42/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 511 ratings.