Atwater VJ Black - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater VJ BlackAtwater VJ Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

66 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 66
Hads: 196
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 22.72%
Wants: 6
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DrDemento456 on 04-09-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 66 | Hads: 196
Reviews by MrBIP:
Photo of MrBIP
4/5  rDev +4.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of buschbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a snifter
March 2012 is notched in the label.

A - It pours black with less than an inch of tan head.

S - I smell some roasted malt and dark chocolate.

T - On my first taste I immediately thought "chocolaty." It has a real nice dark chocolate flavor along with some roasted malt.

M - Full

O - I haven't thought much of Atwater Block beers. This one has me rethinking them. This beer is delicious. I love the dark chocolate characteristics.

 474 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into sam adams custom glass: color is black, head is tan, 1/2 inch thick, lacing on the glass.

Smell is vanilla, over done and not pleasant for a beer of this type.

Taste is vanilla forward, chocolate malt and chocolate syrup. Hides the abv well, but it does not taste that great, malt backbone is not definitive, maybe some roast.

Mouthfeel is very dry on the finish, surprising its not sweeter for its size, but again i dont like this beer for its style.

Overall an odd beer for this style, too much vanilla to try and cover its strength, chocolate flavor is intense as well. I like it when the stronger stouts let the flavors fly and give you a big roast or hop experience, this seems out of place.

 712 characters

Photo of hopflyer
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep dark brown with reddish highlights on edges. Light tan head about 1 finger.

Smell is bakers vanilla and some coffee. Some roasted malt.

Taste follows with nice smooth vanilla mixed with black coffee. Not much in roasted or charred wood flavor but not needed here. A little bitterness on the back end.

Feel is creamy enhanced by the vanilla. Medium body and low to medium carbonation. Bitterness lingers a little.

A really good, smooth, and creamy stout. Feel is a bit thin for an RIS. Abv not noticeable at all.

 533 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Sokko
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of warnerry
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled March 2011

A - Pours pith black with two fingers of light brown head. Head had good retention, and leaves some decent lacing.

S - Huge vanilla aroma, which seems to mask the other aromas initially. Eventually, aromas of chocolate, cola, molasses and some roasted malt come through.

T - Taste follows the smell pretty closely, with a lot of sweetness and vanilla, followed by some chocolate, faint roasted malts that become more prominent on this finish.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, and somewhat watery, though there is some creaminess to it. Sweet throughout, but it dries out a bit on the finish, which has a subtle bitterness.

O - Not a standout, and the sweetness and strong vanilla will not be for everyone, but this was pretty enjoyable overall. With all the available options for an RIS, I can't see buying this again. Did not get any booziness out of this, which was a pleasant surprise.

 923 characters

Photo of TimoP
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of jondeelee
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

VJ Black opens with a whiff of yeasty dough and malt, much like rising bread, which clears away and opens into a deeper, darker series of aromas that include heavy kola nut and caramel, a distinct almost Dr. Pepper-like spice and sugar blend, and more subtle layers of tobacco, anise, and black malt. For an Imperial Stout, the nose is heavily sweet and spicy, overflowing with molasses and brown sugar, pepper, and an almost smoky nutmeg or allspice spike. The aromas are certainly intriguing, but do bear more than a passing resemblance to a soft drink or a sugary root beer, and thus throw the nose off. It’s only the subtle dark ash and anise undertones that reveal the beer’s stout base, and these can be easily lost.

On the tongue, the beer continues to bear a good resemblance to a soft drink or root beer, with sugary spice flavors predominant, backed by dark ashy notes. Kola nut, sarsaparilla, cane sugar, vanilla, and a near-burnt allspice seem to make up most of the spice profile, and when joined with brown sugar and molasses, create a very non-Imperial-Stout-like flavor profile. One has to dig a bit deep to find coffee, ash, and black malt—but again, these can be easily lost. So sweet is the beer that it actually becomes almost sucralose (i.e. Splenda)-like around the edges, leaving a strange super-sweet rim that doesn’t quite mesh with the ash and coffee. The aftertaste is more of the same, though a touch more ash and coffee come through, the entire profile lingering on the tongue (along with the sucralose bite) for a long time. Mouthfeel is a slightly watery medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is definitely one of the more strange Imperial Stouts on the market, and one where the flavors don’t quite seem to mesh well together and provide a nice balance. On a good note, the beer’s 11% ABV is very nicely hidden beneath these flavors, detectable only late in the aftertaste as the vapors rise from the tongue. But the beer itself feels like it’s suffering from an identity crisis, not quite sure what direction it needs to go in.

 2,094 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. FEB 2010 notched on the label, i take that to be the bottled on date, so about 1 1/2 years old. purchased as a single at beers of the world in rochester.

pours out opaque black with a big huge billowy tan foamy cap. very nice retention, thick sticky lace everywhere. i wouldnt really say a creamy head, but looks fantastic.

not the biggest aroma. i detect some nice rich brownie batter like chocolate and a bit of vanilla that smells nice. behind that theres a little roasted malt and maybe some coffee.

kind of sweeter milk chocolate vanilla, a little chocolate cake. similar to many milk stouts ive had. some roasted malt, but its definatly not one of the main players like in most impy stouts. finishes with a solid bitterness that lingers a bit.

the mouthfeel just doesnt deliver enough. kind of weak body for this style. after you take a sip, it just doesnt really feel like you drank an impy stout. hardly any alcohol detectable, which has its advantages. slightly chalky.

overall, a decent beer, worth a single, but i wouldnt strive to get this again. almost tastes a little artificial, has some flavors in common with mokah and choklat. way better than the beer this was based on, the vanilla java porter, but i want some more malt.

 1,298 characters

Photo of Pbody
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark smokey imperial stout with good depth, hints of chocolate and coffee. I don't typically buy from Atwater Brewery but this is a pretty well balanced imperial stout from their single batch series, also has a pretty nice kick to it at eleven percent. Would definitely recommend this beer in low doses lol.

 307 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark black body with a tan head filling my chalice above the rim of the glass, dwindles slowly leaving chunky sporadic lacing. Aroma has deep vanilla semi oaked barrel notes with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. Flavor has a sharp acidic dark chocolate infused coffee, almost like it has a slightly sour mash amongst hints of oak aging (my guess is oak chips), with some vanilla bourbon hints going on. Really not bad it's just a mix of tart dark chocolate, harsh roasted coffee notes, and a bit of artificial vanilla bourbon oak notes. Much like an Rock Bottom nitro Vanilla Bourbon stout I've had in the past. I can't believe this beer is packing 11% alcohol, extremely well hidden and a bit dangerous. Mouthfeel is medium bodied not cloying in anyway a bit of the bitter dark roasts leaves behind some welcoming dryness to the upfront sweet vanilla java presence. Overall impression is wow, not bad well crafted one of the first Atwater Block brews I've been impressed with on any level. Nothing diabetes sickeningly sweet about it just a well balanced well hidden imperial version of thier Vanilla Java Stout.

 1,121 characters

Photo of alcohline_trip
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Opaque black with little head. A little roasty and boozy aroma, with a spot of vanilla. Somewhat thin for the style,perhaps the oiliness gives my tongue this impression, not so well integrated. Bitter chocolate and some vanilla, bourbon, coconut. A sipper, not so drinkable.
Ken's bottle.

 289 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found a bottle at Abe's Cold Beer, the label is notched for Feb 2010. This stout is so smooth, I had not idea it was stronger than seven or eight percent. There's a huge, dry cocoa flavor with a toasty sugar cookie taste in the background and a roasty molasses edge. It's not the richest RIS, but it's a great chocolate-like beer (reminds me of Rogue's chocolate stout) that's not too heavy.

 393 characters

Photo of deakin
3.12/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of jtb0608
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of jduprey007
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of Apex
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of kcq101
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%

Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Pretty much a black pour with a layer of light tan head. Retained fairly well.

Aroma, has roast malt, some earthyness and light chocolate. A bit subdued.

Taste is much more assertive. Very nice blend of roast malt, dark chocolate, vanilla. Some peat or something earthy in there also. Cocoa and lighter coffee accent the drier finish. Lingers nicely.

Enough carbonation to keep it interesting. I wouldn't quite call it creamy. Maybe a little thin body wise, but maybe that helps the drinkability. This was pretty easy to put down for 11%.

Wasn't expecting much since I haven't cared for the other Atwater brews I've had. I was pleasantly surprised. Best I've had from these folks for sure.

 700 characters

Photo of tourdot
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Segelstrom
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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Atwater VJ Black from Atwater Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.