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Dark Side Vanilla Porter - Empyrean Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Side Vanilla PorterDark Side Vanilla Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

297 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 297
Reviews: 133
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 21
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Empyrean Brewing Company visit their website
Nebraska, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
An infusion of an old-world beer style and contemporary soul. Smooth, dark and roasted with highlights of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. Brewed with American, Canadian and English grown barley, American hops, Madagascar vanilla beans and natural vanilla extract.

23. IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-27-2002)
View: Beers (23) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cliveklg
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love this artisan beer. Starts off a nice bold rich flavor, that goes down smooth. It is definitely a porter with it's flavor with a hint of vanilla going down.

But after it goes down the truly great surprise of this beer takes hold and the taste left in your mouth is the sweet vanilla flavor. No bitter after taste.

Photo of thisladyluck
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of TwoForty
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of shanem
4.8/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this in Lincoln on a cross country road trip and finally obtained some bottles! Best beer we had on the trip through random discovery. Not quite the same as the draft I had there, but it never is...

A: dark brown(light shines thru towards the bottom} with tiny light head

S: vanilla with some roasted malts and bit of chocolate

T: The vanilla is definitely the star, but not overpowering at all, very well balanced with the other flavors of chocolate, and maybe caramelish taste also with a bit of nuttiness

M: has a darn good feel. almost perfect for a porter

D: Very good, I enjoy this with just about anything. I really like the sweetness to it, with everything else. Much more of a complex beer than I expected, has a lot going on

Highly recommend!

Serving type: bottle

Photo of stringodelqueso
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of LukeGude
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of Cosmos83
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of neonbrown82
4.7/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was quite impressed by this little brewery out of Lincoln, NE. I've been meaning to try their beers for quite a while, but I always end up finding something else whenever I'm back in the Omaha area. I'm glad that I finally ended up picking something up from Empyrean, however, as this is one of the best brews I've ever had, and the best porter I've ever had with the exception of Sinebrychoff (though it is a baltic porter, thus totally different).

The beer pours to a very dark brown color (almost black) with a creamy white head that sticks around for quite a while, but fails to create a decent lacing.

The smell is one of the best beer aromas I've ever had the pleasure of sniffing. The vanilla beans take the forefront along with a hint of coffee and very gently roasted chocolate malt. I wish I could make a candle that smelled like this. The taste stays very similar to the nose. The vanilla flavor is PERFECTLY balanced with the typical porter flavor. It tastes almost as if it was served from an oak cask. Brilliant!

The mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. This was quite a crowd pleaser amongst my friends who have a bias against "dark beer." I wish I could get Empyrean brews here in Iowa City. This beer could only be more drinkable if I had a clue as the ABV, because I had 4 the other night over the course of two hours and was afraid to drive home for several more hours.

Photo of NodakEric
4.64/5  rDev +26.1%

Photo of ButterflyBethie
4.55/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer smells great!! You can use it for aromatherapy. Smells of sweet vanilla with a hint of chocolate. The taste is like the smell and goes down very smooth with light carbonation. Not overly sweet in taste but also no bitterness. The beer has a small head with no lacing and is very dark. The appearance is typical of a porter. This is like drinking a great dessert.

Photo of UnicornProfessor
4.52/5  rDev +22.8%

Empyrean is my favorite brewing co, and their Dark Side Vanilla Porter is my favorite beer from them. It's always awesome and fulfilling.

Photo of Kobbla
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of blackcows
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of 6demonbag
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of jewellrunner
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of Jabartheljr
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of k8_mcgowan
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of gpflepsen
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can concur with the previous reviewers on this great vanilla porter. I will dissent on only one aspect from them.

I will review the Dark Side Vanilla Porter from Empyrean Ales on draught from the brewhouse/restaurant Laslo's, as I notice others have reviewed the bottled version.

Very little head resides on this beer. By the time it makes it to the table it is gone but for a light ring at the edge. The color is very dark and clear, not murky in the least. The nose brings a blend of vanilla and chocolate. Over the tongue, the first impact is again vanilla followed by a smooth chocolate malt and an ever so slight bitter hops finish. Not much coffee to speak of. An air of vanilla still lingers in the nose.

Fresh from the tap on premises, this is a very smooth porter and dare I say a good candidate for the beginner in the realm of porters. Very smooth and refined. I return often just to have another pint.

To wrap this up, I finally bought a six-pack from the supermarket to have at home. The bottled version easily loses .25 to .5 ratings points from the draught type. The only improvement in the bottled Dark Side is the appearance of head. The vanilla essence is very subdued, as is the chocolate malt. A coffee taste is evident and a very pronounced hops finish is made known. Everything making the tap Vanilla Porter is absent in the bottled variety.

To compare the tap and bottled version is difficult. They are different enough that a blind test would hardly show them to be the "same" beer.

I would welcome the other reviewers to compare the tap and bottled versions of this beer.

Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: 2 finger foamy head of a nice khaki-beige color. Nearly black in color.

S: Sweet malt, dark beries, candy sugar, vanilla.

T: Rich coffeeish flavor with the best vanilla infuson I've ever had in a beer. Tight, dark malt. Nice aftertaste.

M: A little dry but overall a nice chewy presence.

D: Nearly perfect. I've enjoyed Breckenridge Vanilla Porter for years but this is better (still really like Breckenridge, though). Right up there with all of my favorite porters/stouts.

Photo of HopsNPot
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

POURED INTO PINT GLASS
APP- virtual space black with just a tad of light flooding through the thinnest part of the glass when directly held in front of light.
SMELL- roasted coffee and vanilla beans are apparent. malty aroma. rich.
TASTE- smooth initial hit of rich malt. followed by somewhat creamy coffee/vanilla aftertaste.
MF- full bodied and very clean.
DRINKBLTY- so smooth, for a porter this is extremely accessible and outrageously smooth.

overall, this is a great brew, and its not just the nebraska bias. Im not sure how many states empyrean caters to, but if you get a chance at any of their brews, this is a great first pic.

Photo of rundocrun
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer on-tap at Old Capitol Brew Works in Iowa City.

A - Pours dark, dark brown. Almost black, with root beer-like highlights. Light tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S - Deep, rich toasted malts with a definite whiff of vanilla. Enticing!

T - Some bitter, coffee-like notes up front that fade slightly but last through the finish. Wow! A definite dollop of vanilla flavor right after the swallow. Nice, balanced hop notes to round it out. Very impressed!

M - Thicker than some stouts i've tried, that's for sure! Only beef is that it's slightly over-carbonated. That may just be personal preference talking though.

Photo of NClifestyle
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like this beer. got this in a trade from jhammerly (thanks). i had been trying to talk one of my brewing buddies into letting me brew a vanilla beer, and he thought the idea was worthless.
anyway, this beer pours up a lovely dark color, not quite black, but definitely not brown, purple and blood red hints when held up to the light. thick tan head dwindles to a nice layer over the dark contents.
first smell is vanilla, but not super slick or sweet, just about right, less like some scented candle. also, a hint of hop in there, with some bread aroma as well.
taste is just a brush of vanilla prior to a well made malt/coffee flavor with just enough dry hop in the back of the mouth to keep the beer from becoming sweet. a really GREAT mix and perfect touch of vanilla.
not a ton of bubbles, but enough to keep things lively.
you can't drink too many porters at one sitting, less so if the beer is super sweet, but i could have had a few of these.
if this was a local brew, and the temperature was under 60 degrees, i'd drink this all the time.

4/3/08
This is the last of the dsvp's I received in a trade long ago. Been holding off, but finally had to break it open, for fear of it going bad.

This is a wonderful beer, if you're a fan of vanilla. Not too over the top, but you definitely notice it. A bit more sweet than most porters, and a tad too thin for my like, but otherwise, it's one of my dream sub-styles that just aren't around, at least where I am.

cheers...
cheers...

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at 50 degrees. Picked up in a trade from swid - thanks!!

A - Pours a beautiful deep brown with red highlights. Small-to-medium tan head that quickly melted away but left a small lacing for awhile.

S - Roasted coffee and vanilla dominates the scent. Powerful aroma.

T - Delicious blend of vanilla, nuts, and mild-roast coffee beans. Nut flavor really comes out on the aftertaste. The use of vanilla is excellent as it's not overpowering - more of a vanilla/nutty flavor than anything. Wonderful!

M - Medium, creamy body that washes down very smooth. Excellent aftertastes.

D - Thanks to swid for including two of these - I'll be saving the other for just the right time. Definitely recommended!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from IntriqKen, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a large, dense, foamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is rich with vanilla, chocolate and coffee, along with some caramelized malt & smokiness mixed in.

T: The taste is creamy and smoky with a heavy vanilla flavor backed up with chocolate, coffee, nuts and roasted malt. There’s a little bit of hops present, but the beer is sweet enough to smother the hops flavor.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation especially for the style, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, extremely easy-to-drink, not very filling, I could stick with this beer for a long time and put away quite a few.

Photo of bort11
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Fugazme for this one
12 oz bottle with no freshness date. Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Color is a rich dark brown with faint ruby highlights when held to the light. Tight tan colored head that recedes to a minimal lace.
Smell is a sweetened bitter malt with coffee and floral notes. The vanilla is subtle. Taste is very bold, but not overpowering. Espresso coffee bean sweetened with the vanilla bean. The vanilla accentuates rather than dominates the flavor. Surprisingly, it finishes with a hops bitterness.
Mouthfeel is full and creamy. This is a very nice evening sipper.

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Dark Side Vanilla Porter from Empyrean Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.