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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

170 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 6
Gots: 17 | 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: 170 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
2/5  rDev -48.6%

Rand_ale_Thor, Feb 05, 2014
Photo of AndyEdgar
2/5  rDev -48.6%

AndyEdgar, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of Mitchster
2/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

$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.

Mitchster, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of ThickNStout
2.2/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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.

ThickNStout, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of Hallertau
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Hallertau, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of Apex
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Apex, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of Supergenious
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Supergenious, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of TasteTester
3/5  rDev -22.9%

TasteTester, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of akttr
3/5  rDev -22.9%

akttr, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

mactrail, May 31, 2012
Photo of n2185
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

n2185, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of EricCioe
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

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.

EricCioe, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of biglite351
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

biglite351, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of jduprey007
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

jduprey007, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

I am really struggling on how this is an Imperial stout?I don't know though ? might change my rating but its seems kinda thin for a Impe. alcohol well hidden. Mouth feel is not there either, maybe its me like i said. It just does not have that full to medium full mouth feel which to me is all about the Impe. Now don't get me wrong it taste good but it just feels watery in the taste? as it warms you pull out the java and vanilla . To me this is just there Vj porter with kicked up abv. which is fine but imho this not Imperial stout but imperial porter!

Dr_Bahmbay13, Sep 26, 2014
Photo of IPAFrankieH
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

IPAFrankieH, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of VonZipper
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

VonZipper, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of Fitze
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Fitze, May 11, 2014
Photo of Rekrule
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Rekrule, Oct 25, 2012
Photo of Kerrie
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Kerrie, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle, about 1 year old. Poured into a snifter 9/27/2014.

A- Dark brown body, half finger light brown head that settles quickly. Not much carb.

S- Burnt malt, dark chocolate, a little vanilla, a bit of brown sugar. A little bit of oxidized sherry. Overall smells quite a bit less intense than fresh.

F- Chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roast malt, small bit of brown sugar and oxidized dark fruit sweetness. Very straightforward RIS.

M- Medium body, on the thinner side for a RIS. Low carbonation, sticky. Not bad, still a sipper after a year in the bottle.

O- Decent RIS, nothing to clamor over. Age didn't do this any favors, so I would recommend trying this fresh.

Stevedore, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Sammy, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of mvanaskie13
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

mvanaskie13, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of warnerry
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

warnerry, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

OWSLEY069, Apr 22, 2011
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Atwater VJ Black from Atwater Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.