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Atwater VJ Black - Atwater Brewery

Not Rated.
Atwater VJ BlackAtwater VJ Black

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

159 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 6
Gots: 16 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DrDemento456 on 04-09-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 62 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
Rand_ale_Thor

Wisconsin

2/5  rDev -48.8%

02-05-2014 18:01:22 | More by Rand_ale_Thor
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

2/5  rDev -48.8%

$2.69 for a 12oz bottle @ BevCo. "Brewed with 6 different malts and Barley flakes and Magnum Hops", as well as presumably vanilla and coffee. OG=21d Plato, 24 IBU's and 11% ABV. Label notched for March 2012.

Clear, near black, forming a small light tan head with poor retention and sparse lacing, mild carbonation. The aroma opens with fresh vanilla, sour milk, and carob with some leafy green hops in the mix. The mouthfeel is REALLY thin for an 11% beer. I don't buy this AT ALL and would be very interested in analyzing this. I'm a homebrewer and have had hundreds of 11% ABV beers and this is definitely not one. Judging by other reviews, I'm not the only one to notice this. The taste opens with green leafy hops followed by leather and burnt wood. Very herbal with an odd sourness I don't get any coffee, just burnt malts, vanilla, sour and green leaves. Hrmm. Bitterness is moderate, with a burnt astringency as well.

Not digging this at all. Completely out of balance, sour, grassy and weird tasting. This is definitely not an Imperial Stout. Do not recommend this mess of a beer. Awful.

04-17-2012 02:47:38 | More by Mitchster
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout

Georgia

2.2/5  rDev -43.7%

12oz botlle from Beer Baron (Detroit, MI). 3.69. Bottled 03/2012. Served in a Red Brick snifter.

Pour deep brown with ruddy hues around the edges. Less than a quarter finger pale tan head that fades quickly and leaves very little in the way of lacing.

Aromas of roast malts, dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

Tastes of hot chocolate powder, burnt cheap coffee, sugar and grape cough syrup. The alcohol is pretty well hidden but I don't much care for what it is hiding behind.

Medium thin feel with sharp carbonation. Long artificial cocoa finish.

Between this and their Coffee Vanilla Porter, I'll gave to concede that Atwater's head brewer and I have strongly different tastes. I'm fairly sure that I'm getting only cheap adjuncts and no barley, hops or yeast. Where's the beer? Pass on this one.

12-11-2012 06:06:41 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of Hallertau
Hallertau

Wisconsin

2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

04-13-2014 02:29:02 | More by Hallertau
Photo of Apex
Apex

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -23.3%

04-21-2012 00:01:30 | More by Apex
Photo of Supergenious
Supergenious

Michigan

3/5  rDev -23.3%

06-02-2012 23:46:24 | More by Supergenious
Photo of TasteTester
TasteTester

Ohio

3/5  rDev -23.3%

03-17-2012 22:56:34 | More by TasteTester
Photo of akttr
akttr

Michigan

3/5  rDev -23.3%

02-02-2013 23:10:46 | More by akttr
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

3.03/5  rDev -22.5%

Yipes! huge dark chocolate and vanilla. Near black in the tall tulip. Modest foam with some decent lacing along the glass.

Brewery says it's based on their Vanilla-Java Porter, which would explain everything. Full of malt but not too sweet. Charred flavors dominate. Sugar cookie taste along with a deep flavor of French roast coffee. Bitter as sin after the sweet ice cream flavors. Raspy and harsh.

One has to ask, "why?" Personally I think vanilla is not a good beer additive, though it's quite beery if you can get over the taste. From the 12 oz bottle.

05-31-2012 04:19:09 | More by mactrail
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -22%

A: Pours black with half a finger of tan head that vanishes completely with no lacing.

S: Roasted malts with lots of sweet chocolates, licorice, and raisiny dark fruit aromas. There are some slight smokey notes toward the finish.

T: Light roasted malt flavors up front followed by a strong licorice and dark fruit flavor. The finish is sweet and charred tasting.

M: Thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is not as creamy as I'd like.

O: An alright stout, overall, though a bit too sweet and licorice-y for me.

07-20-2012 00:51:41 | More by n2185
Photo of EricCioe
EricCioe

Montana

3.05/5  rDev -22%

This pours a nice almost black that has some highlights at the edges, with a big two finger chunky head that leaves lace on the way down. On the nose it's similar to the regular Vanilla Java Porter that I just had, with the addition of some chocolate to sit over the vanilla and even further above the coffee. In the mouth there is again the mixture of bitter chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, and vanilla extract rather than beans. I'm not getting much in the way of toasted or chocolate malts, a recurring theme with Atwater for me so far. The body is the lightest I've had for such a high ABV stout, and this is probably the culprit for me not liking this beer or any of Atwater's as much as I might.

Everything I've had by them so far has a Diet Coke body and a medium at best finish. Vanilla Java Porter was okay for me, but definitely on the thin side. I was expecting this one to rectify those problems and it didn't. If this brewery ever stops skimping on the malt bill, they might have something. Until then, it's just watery versions of brews that have some potential.

04-20-2011 01:29:19 | More by EricCioe
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -19.4%

A - A bit of red around the edges with a creamy light tan head.

S - Fruit, malt with a touch of prune or raisin... but something a little bit off.

T - Smokey prune, chocolate and malts. A touch of caramel in the finish.

M - Creamy body but no real tingle or action.

O - Nothing bad about it but nothing that would make it a top pick either.

06-27-2011 11:10:48 | More by biglite351
Photo of jduprey007
jduprey007

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

03-10-2013 16:10:49 | More by jduprey007
Photo of IPAFrankieH
IPAFrankieH

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

07-02-2012 10:31:59 | More by IPAFrankieH
Photo of VonZipper
VonZipper

New York

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

02-14-2014 01:37:46 | More by VonZipper
Photo of Fitze
Fitze

South Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

05-11-2014 17:22:20 | More by Fitze
Photo of Rekrule
Rekrule

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

10-25-2012 11:30:03 | More by Rekrule
Photo of Kerrie
Kerrie

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

01-31-2013 00:47:13 | More by Kerrie
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev -14.8%

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.

09-15-2011 14:08:31 | More by Sammy
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13

Pennsylvania

3.38/5  rDev -13.6%

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.

02-22-2014 05:04:34 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

01-30-2012 00:52:08 | More by warnerry
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -12.3%

Pours jet black with a tan head. In the aroma, coffee and a roasted malt. In the taste, coffee and a roasted malt that runs sweet to dry. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry coffee in the aftertaste. Nice coffee and hides the 11% nicely.

04-22-2011 17:02:08 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -11%

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.

05-17-2012 23:08:43 | More by jondeelee
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.49/5  rDev -10.7%

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this at his tasting.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, cocoa, and sugar aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla and chocolate syrup flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an interesting chocolate syrup quality in the taste.

01-27-2014 00:14:36 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of kevgod
kevgod

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

01-08-2012 17:15:04 | More by kevgod
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Atwater VJ Black from Atwater Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.