Dark Side Vanilla Porter - Empyrean Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Side Vanilla PorterDark Side Vanilla Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

136 Reviews
THE BROS
75
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 136
Hads: 332
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 24
Gots: 48 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-27-2002

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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 136 | Hads: 332
Photo of tewaris
2/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Another state ticked, thanks Lowry!

Clear brown colored with a fizzy head. Aroma is faint roast, some acidity and vanilla, I assume. Tastes oddly bland and sharp with a very generic feel to it. Frankly, right from the pour and down to the taste, this beer is closest to Coke than any other that I have had. Thin and overcarbed, it did not excite me in any way. Except being from Nebraska. (389 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
2.28/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours brown with a thinnish meringue tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet nutty malts and lots of vanilla and some lactose.

The flavor is sweet sugary nutty malts with some acidic vanilla and a little plastic roast in the finish. The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin and watery side.

Overall, lots of sweet vanilla with some off notes that become more pronounced the more I drink. (439 characters)

Photo of aforbes10
2.32/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This was a weird one for me to review. I love a good porter, and i get the sense that there was a good one in here somewhere. i just couldn't get past the vanilla. Beer looked great in a glass. very dark, with no much head. Odor of vanilla, but this was swamped out by vanilla. Taste was much of the same...kind of porter-ish with chocolate and roasted malt flavors but then the vanilla hits you and that's all you're left with. maybe im just not in favor of vanilla in beers but thats how i feel. I do not need to have this one again and i plead with brewers not to add weird shit to porters. Anything else, fine, but not porters. (631 characters)

Photo of mothman
2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Color is a deep brown. Very light tan head.

Aroma: Artificial vanilla and chocolate. Caramel malt providing more sweetness on top of the vanilla. A light roast to it.

Taste: Mimics the nose. A lot of artificial vanilla. It stands out so much. Chocolate and some cocoa with roasted malts. Caramel.

Mouthfeel: Sticky sweet. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with this porter. It tasted too fake for me. If you can get past that fact, it is okay. (513 characters)

Photo of Scott17taylor
2.63/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very flavorful but it was a bit strong on the coffee and I didn't pick up many other favors. It is an okay porter with big flavor, mostly cofee, there really isn't anything terrible about it but I overall didn't enjoy this beer. I would much rather drink something a little weaker on the coffee and stronger on other favors. (324 characters)

Photo of kels
2.67/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Looks great - dark chocolate brown and completely opaque off the pour. There's a nice 1 finger initial cocoa-brown head that fades to a pretty well-retained milky skim. Not much lace to speak of.

Very little nose to speak of. There's a hint of the vanilla, and a spent-coffee grounds sort of aroma. There's also a hint of something akin to old milk meets wilting vegetables. Not very pleasing at all.

The taste possesses many of the nice qualities of a porter - roasted malts, chocolatey sweetness, fullness without heaviness...BUT those are all offset with that veggie flavor. I don't get any of the vanilla, and there's a hit of metallic in there as well. The feel is well-carbonated, but can't make up for the unnerving off-tastes.

Drinkability is low simply because I don't want to drink it anymore. (808 characters)

Photo of mynie
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Medium ruby almost entirely without a head.

Smell some sweetness, but it's more of a plum and old fruit than a vanilla. Not much "porter" going on, here--there's just a little hint of instant coffee crystals.

Very wet start. Not much flavor. Moving into a decent smokey coffee and ending on a musty flavor that's inbetween imitation vanilla extra and dirty socks. Not very good.

Nothing much to see here, folks. Move along. (433 characters)

Photo of orcasteve
2.76/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a brownish black color with a small white head, the sent of this reminded me of green olives out of a jar, this turned me off instantley, the taste is a tuch sour in the begining (not what i'm use to in a porter), the midle is hops that come in to way to strong and a tuch each of coffie and vanilla, and the end is just bland. this is a beer that i dont think i will revisit any time soon (396 characters)

Photo of BieresDesMoines
2.83/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

I can't put my finger on it but the label for this beer couldn't be further from what I like in a beer label. Truly like something from the early 90's in the worst way possible. But this isn't ratelables.com now is it? What comes out of this silly looking bottle looks impressive enough It's got a very deep almost black color with a big tight head and some very good lace. The aroma is roasty and lightly smoky with some almost burnt toast kind of character. One thing I can certainly say that I like about the flavor is that the vanilla bean is very under control, this is in no way like the sickly vanilla character of say Breckenridge or others I've tried. The vanilla is there, you would be crazy not to notice it. But by no means does it dominate the flavor of this beer. Beyond that there is almost a cream soda kind of flavor here paired oddly with a very roasty burnt toast character that doesn't particularly mesh all that well. The palate is a bit thin. Overall I liked it more than I expected to, and I liked it a lot more than I dis-liked it. (1,055 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Best by Jan. 2011. Thanks to beerwolf77 for tossing one my way.

(A)- Pours a very dark brown; almost black color. Produced a good fluffy tan head with good retention. Some lacing.

(S)- A mellow creamy nutty raisin roastedness. Slightly dry.

(T)- Similar to the smell in every way. It has a weird metallic aspect that comes through as it warms.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. It is a bit thin in the flavor department. Its good up front, but disappears in the mid palate into a metallic dry finish.

(D)- A decent porter. A bit thin and lacking flavor. Where is the vanilla? Maybe better fresher. (647 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
2.92/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from LambicPentameter (thank you!). Best by 7/14. Served in a goblet.

Pours deep brown with three fingers of pale, sand-hued head. A fluffy half finger cap longers and leaves large sheets of lace.

Smells a bit musky with roast malts, caramel and vague vanilla.

Taste is overall bittersweet with dark roasted malts, coffee, cocoa powder, burnt sugar, fruit skins and very mild vanilla bean. It suffers from being just a bit too bitter to let the vanilla through and unfortunately that vanilla flavor comes across to me as more sharp extract than smooth bean in nature.

Fairly thin yet near-creamy feel with a strong seeming dose of carbonation. The finish is roasty with a little lingering vanilla character.

Far from offensive but this didn't deliver near as much vanilla as I would like. Far more roasty and bitter with a body much too thin to be something I'd look to drink much of. (906 characters)

Photo of bashiba
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured cola brown with a soap ring of head.

Has a light roasty nose.

The flavors are mild, with a light touch of smoky and roasty malts with a light sweet vanilla finish. A bit of astrigency poking through.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin.

Just ok, not something I would look to drink again. (287 characters)

Photo of Jayli
3.01/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Acquired this from a77cj7 via Under 100 Fishing for Minnows BIF so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a deep ruddy brown with red hues around the edges. One finger of khaki colored head that recedes to a film that retains the entirety of the beer. Wispy chunks of lacing left on the glass.

S: Nose is charred malts, chocolate, and a good deal of vanilla.

T: Taste is ridiculously vanilla up front. It dominates the forefront on this one. Burnt malts and bitter chocolate come through in the middle. Finish has an odd vanilla, medicinal taste to it. Somewhat watery in the finish as well.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, watery, thin mouthfeel.

D: Goes down ok, not too filling, not much of a kick, I would opt for others of the style. Not a bad beer, but not one that I would reach for again. (836 characters)

Photo of SMark
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this at a friends house where it was brought from Nebraska by his son. Not a lot going on with a typical dark pour, slight head and minimal lacing.

Vanilla came through but did not sense much else like coffee, nuts or chocolate. May have been beyond its best date.

Again not much coming through with the exception of vanilla.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability could have also been affected by the age of the bottle so will give the benefit of the doubt and rate as average. Could be a better brew if revisited but not sure. (531 characters)

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance - Poured into a Miller Fortune 8 oz glass. 1 finger head. Retention not so much.

Smell (4) - Roasted coffee beans, stout, hint of vanilla bean.

Taste (2.75) - Not bad, but a little too bitter for me. The bitterness tastes like old vanilla coffee beans. Dark stout.

Mouthfeel (3.25) - Like drinking an iced coffee but it's a beer. A hint of carbonation spritzes it up just enough to give it a subtle pop. Mildly creamy. Nice bite and finish, a step up from the taste.

Overall - Definitely a session beer. I can tell this one is heavy on the alcohol. Giving me an almost instant headache. But overall it's a feels like winner even if it is a little too bitter and aggressive. Hard to finish so that tanks the rating but I can respect this beer for what it is. (772 characters)

Photo of TheStoutAholic
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into Samuel Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

A- Pours like a cola, with a thin light colored head.

S- Dark roasted malts and I am not sure if I smell the vanilla.

T- I also cannot really taste the vanilla, the beer seemed to average for a porter. It tastes like a malta without all of the sugar and with all of the after taste.

M- ..

D- This beer was nothing special. I probably will not buy it again, but if someone offers me one I would take it. I would not be able to drink a full six-pack of these and enjoy it all. (524 characters)

Photo of philbe311
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - A finger's worth of fizzy off-white colored head comprised of mainly medium-to-large sized bubbles... Very limited retention gives way to a splotchy lopsided lacing and uber thin collar... Mostly still with some very limited carbonation seen creeping towards the top of the glass... The color is a deep cola brown... Some unexpected floaties can be seen hanging around the bottom of the glass...

S - Please, but muted... Pleasant vanilla beans... Some faint cola... Very light cocoa... A hint weak coffee... Again, a very nice aroma, but very understated...

T - The nose was a very good indication of what to expect in terms of flavor... Understated with light notes of vanilla, coffee, cocoa, and flat cola...

M - Light to medium bodied... Just the slightest of carbonation... Thin... A bit chalky... Very uneventful... Pedestrian at best... I hate to use this descriptor, but quite boring...

D - A bit of a let down... A slightly above average appearance and aroma give way to a beer that is a disappointment in all other facets... The flavor is understated... The mouthfeel is down right poor... The end result is a brew that I would neither recommend or drink again... Sorry Empyrean, but this one was a big time miss for me... (1,240 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a nonical pint glass in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the style.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, nice thickness, and average retention. Colour is a solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Vanilla, dark malts, light vague chocolate malt, and some cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Chocolate malt, light vanilla, dark malts, and some cream. Pretty nicely balanced and built, if simple and unremarkable. Lacks complexity or subtlety. The vanilla is surprisingly light.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but with some unwelcome dryness on the climax. A touch too thick considering its lack of flavours. Carbonation is off.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from a great vanilla porter. It almost prioritizes its chocolate malt ahead of vanilla. I'd try it on draught - or ideally on nitro - but it's nothing to write home about. An enjoyable beer for the price.

C+ (1,213 characters)

Photo of Smurf2055
3.12/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours very dark with a tan head about three fingers.

Smells of vanilla.

Super smooth, creamy, a little bit of stale bitter at the back end.

This is by no means a "good" porter, but I’m glad I got to try it. Rich without being strong. Not anything to seek out, but a great beer, none the less. (300 characters)

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle courtesy of jhammerly

Pours a dark brown with a small tan head that fades. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very vanilla oriented with some roasted malt blended in the back. The strength of the vanilla is a little odd, it has a cream soda-ish smell.

It tastes like it smells, just not quite as good. The vanilla is very dominant form start to finish. There is a porter trapped in there somewhere, but it only makes a weak attempt to reveal itself.

Medium-light body, low carbonation.

An interesting brew, but just a bit too heavy on the vanilla for my personal taste. (598 characters)

Photo of Mdog
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown with a quick fading head.

Smell: Faint roasted malt.

Taste: Slight roasted malt then vanilla is the main flavor. There are some chocolate/coffee undertones but the vanilla smoothes them over.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light for a porter.

Drinkability: Not too bad but kind of odd.

I picked this up recently in Nebraska. It's kind of a strange beer, the vanilla is there but is not overpowering. Hard to describe, but worth at least a try. (468 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an attractive dark brown with tan foam that persists with spotty lace. Smell is roasted malt elements with light vanilla, pretty mild but straightforward. Taste is lightly roasted malt, vanilla, coffee but these flavor elements are not well enough integrated and the body is too light leaving a slightly sour, watery aftertaste. This beer could be more robust. (366 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.0 A: Clear deep amber brown color. One and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is below average, but a small ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Vanilla is easily noticeable and blends extremely well with coffee and chocolate notes to give an almost creme brulee vibe. Graininess and a moderate roastiness underneath. Very pleasant.

3.0 T: This is tasty, but it doesn't have the depth of flavor that the nose hinted at. Vanilla is strongest again and there is a decent amount of coffee, but the chocolate is all but gone. This is really dry, which hurts what I think they should have been going for. Lacks sweetness, caramel, and chocolate - all of which complement vanilla quite well. In that sense, this drinks hollow. Light grain and roastiness.

3.0 M: Light to lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lacking body and creaminess, which is what I love most in creme brulee type dark brews.

3.0 D: It's not bad, but it disappoints once you get past the nose. Easy to drink though. (1,031 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #71 (December 2012):

“Where’s the vanilla?” Was the first thing that came to our minds. It’s barely noticeable and what is gets quickly scrubbed away by the dominate roasty notes, however once the beer warmed up considerably the vanilla notes began to pull through. Aside from this, and the short-lived head, the base is a decent Porter.

STYLE: American Porter
ABV: 5.7%
AVAILABILITY: Year-round

LOOK: Rich, opaque, dark brown, creamy tan head that quickly fizzles away

SMELL: Roasted malts, earth, vanilla beans

TASTE: Semi-chewy, malty, raisiny, bready, roasty, chocolate, bitter, acrid, coffee, faint vanilla, dry finish (669 characters)

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A deep yet bright brown in color, some roasted malts detected on the nose. Awesome light roasted coffee beans, slight vanilla on the palate. Nothing fancy, medium bodied with a smokey finish, decent flavor maintains throughout. Pretty good.
Thanks to a good friend ditty187, mask and all. (289 characters)

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Dark Side Vanilla Porter from Empyrean Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.