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Vanilla Porter - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,195 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,195
Reviews: 963
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 15.7%
Wants: 69
Gots: 337 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mebuzzard on 01-13-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,195 | Reviews: 963 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing.

Pours a clear dark brown, some orange hues, thick tan head forms, slowly settles to a thick ring, drops some decent lacing on the glass, looks good. Smell is nice, very raw vanilla bean, malty, brown sugar, some light chocolate roast, raisins, more vanilla, pretty nice. Taste is similar, tons of vanilla, chai tea, chocolate milk, light roast, raisins, some earthiness/wood, brown sugar, nice malty finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, sugary body but nice. I liked this, suppose you have to be into vanilla for that. Maybe more of a brown ale than porter, but I thought the vanilla was well done.

Viggo, May 25, 2009
Photo of webbcreative
2.6/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured Dark Brown almost black, but with reddish when looked at through the light, Tan 1 finger head. Taste is tobacco like, it reminds me of a vanilla black and mild or swisher sweet. Taste is about the same, still reminded of a flavored cigar. Cant get past the tobacconess of this one. Vanilla tastes like artificial extract syrup, thats not even that good to begin with.

Overall, not somthing I would try again, although I would like to find or make a good Vanilla Porter still...

webbcreative, May 25, 2009
Photo of mjurney
1.63/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12oz bottle pour into a pint glass

[Appearance]: Dark ruby/brown color with one finger head, lacing is decent.
[Smell]: Very strong vanilla extract, I could detect some hint of roastiness.
[Taste]: Strong vanilla flavor, yet very sweet. Argh! way too sweet for my taste.
[Mouthfeel]: Light to medium bodied.
[Drinkability]: Very harsh aftertaste, couldn't finish the rest of the porter.

mjurney, May 24, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby color with one finger of off white head.

Scent of caramel, vanilla, some roasted malts, and cocoa. A bit weak and almost watery, decent.

Taste of vanilla, cocoa, roasted malts and grain. A pretty good porter with a nice vanilla flavor, but there isn't much to it other than that.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with good carbonation.

paco1029384756, May 24, 2009
Photo of Beejay
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown, with red tones, and a few white bubbles for head.

S: Dark Roast barley. Coffee.. Not a lot of vanilla actually.

T: There's the vanilla, rich, and tasty. Tastes a bit artificial, or manufactured like vanilla extract. Tastes kinda like a cream soda, but porter-ee.

M: Nothing major here

D: Nice, but not something I would do a lot of.

Beejay, May 17, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my Imperial pint glass. Appears a translucent dark chestnut color with about a finger of creamy light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of vanilla extract, medium roasted grains, a bit of chocolate, sweet caramel and more cocoa and vanilla. Just about medium in both body and carbonation. I would reach for this porter again.

ClockworkOrange, May 15, 2009
Photo of timmay41
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, medium bodied (a little watery looking), good one-finger off-white head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Strong vanilla, caramel, toffee aromas... a very sweet nose overall. Malty backbone is there.

T&M: Sweetness dominates--kind of "iced french vanilla coffee with extra cream and sugar" style. Roasted malts are present to balance the taste out somewhat. A little thin on the mouthfeel; doesn't provide the thick, rich aftertaste I'm looking for from a porter with this kind of sweetness.

D: The sweet notes carry this beer a long way and if I ever find myself in CO I'd love to try it on draft.

timmay41, May 12, 2009
Photo of matty
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is mostly chocolate.Taste is chocolate,vanilla,coffee and some toasty malts.Creamy and delicious.It seems to me that the vanilla and chocolate are balanced 50/50.Highly recommended and I will purchase again.

matty, May 09, 2009
Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Globe glass.

A. Big foamy 2+ finger head. Very dark brown almost black. Some lacing left on side of glass.

S. Malt, vanilla, caramel, chocolate.

T. Vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate. Very sweet. Dominated by the vanilla.

M. Low bodied for a Porter. Somewhat of a creaminess that leaves a coating on the mouth.

D. Maybe a little too heavy on the Vanilla. Not a beer I could probably want to have more than one of. Not a bad dessert beer though.

siradmiralnelson, May 03, 2009
Photo of cvfish
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a brown color with ruby highlights that had decent retention and left decent lacing along the side of the glass

S - The aromas that were produced by this beer were some roasted malts, chocolate, but the vanilla was the star here

T - Unlike what others have said, I did not find this to be a vanilla mess, but I love vanilla, so part of me wishes there were more in this beer, but I tasted slightly roasted malts and a little but of chocolate and moderate amount of vanilla

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation

D - I really enjoyed this beer, the look of it says more of a Brown Ale to me, but the taste really made up and was something that I really enjoyed

cvfish, May 03, 2009
Photo of BobbyBeerman
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a little lighter than I expected - in color and body. It looked thinner than anticipated and a lighter color. This is an amber dark brown that light passes through easily.

S: While there are normal aromas in here that are to be expected in a porter there is the something else that the name implies - vanilla. It's not dominant but it's there blending with the chocolate/coffee as well.

T: The vanilla is a taste that carries though the entire experience. It's up front with the cocoa but if follows through to the hoppy trailing edge and even a little beyond. However, the vanilla isn't over the top. Not overly sweet - nicely balanced.

M: A little creamy but this is a good thing. Smooth going down. A little light in the carbonation department but it works well with this beer. Anything more and it might be harsh.

D: Very drinkable. I would love to include this in my next tasting session that I host.

BobbyBeerman, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of cnally
2.48/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

the beer pours a good tan head. but it is a see through brown with red tints, unimpressive for a porter.

sour, sour smell. slightly acrid, bitter undertones.

you know, the malt is the first thing you notice. it rises up and then fades into the vanilla afterflavor. which seems slightly artificial. not a deep flavor whatsoever.

great feel. creamy and heavy, but not in a bad way.

well, I didn't like it. it just didn't seem like it had a deep and grand flavor. the feel is great, but the aromatics and flavor depth are lacking.

cnally, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of wnh
2.53/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottled poured into a pint glass. This is bottle number three of six, and I'm giving it one last shot before I give up on this beer.

Pours a deep brown, almost black, that looks chestnut tinted ruby when held up to the light. Quite a nice color, really. Poured with a huge 1.5" light tan head that has dissipated to a small, slightly foamy film across the surface.

The nose is chocolate up front, somewhere between milk and dark chocolate. Not as sweet as the former, not as bitter as the latter. Vanilla comes in next, increasing in intensity the more I sniff, and eventually becoming somewhat one-dimensional. If there's anything else to smell, it's being suppressed by the vanilla.

First sip is sweet chocolate with hints of vanilla; the vanilla flavor comes more into the foreground on each subsequent sip. Bitter chocolate in the finish starts to bring this beer back into balance, but doesn't go far enough. Caramel-filled-chocolate aftertaste is a little too candy-like.

Mouthfeel is noticeably light, and on the verge of watery. Little to no mouth coating, which actually turns out to be a good thing since it keeps the sicky sweetness from sticking around too long. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability is nil as far as I'm concerned. It's not the worst thing ever, but I'll be hard pressed to finish this glass, let alone have any desire for another. It's just too sweet. The sweetness is a perfectly acceptable component, but here it acts as the lone component.

To my palate, this beer is in serious need of something to balance the sweet, whether it be a nice roasty backbone, or some coffee or dark chocolate bitterness, or even some earthy hoppiness. But it's got little of that balance--presumably enough to keep it from being pure sugar water, but not enough to really make it an enjoyable beer. In short, I was looking for a good porter with vanilla notes, but instead this feels like a vanilla beer built on a sub-par porter. The label proclaims that this beer is "Remarkable" and "Partakable." I disagree with each. I'm quite disappointed.

I eventually paired this up with some locally-made artisanal chocolate (from Askinosie, for those interested) made with sugar crystals and vanilla. Interestingly enough, the vanilla in the chocolate served to (a) bring to light just how cheap the vanilla in the beer tasted and (b) provide the appropriate bitterness to bring the flavors of the beer back into check. In other words, the chocolate showed me just how bad this beer tastes, but actually made it taste better.

wnh, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of MikeInIowa
4.7/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have we learned anything at all with regards to vanilla -- It ain't plain!!

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is only the second porter beer I have tried in my entire lifetime. But the burning question is: Do I really need to look any further into the porter style? Yes, probably for the sake of Science, fairness and accurate testing. However, I don't think I need to go any further with regards to looking for porter Nirvana.

Nose: A pleasant, slightly coffee-like aroma.

Appearance: Black like the night and opaque, not allowing any light to pass through the glass. (It does have average or above head and lace retention.) But relax: This is not the Black Hole of beers. It just is not the golden lager you are used to.

And by the way, since we broached the subject, Do Not compare your favorite lager to porters. Don't do it. They are from differing styles. It would be like comparing Diana Ross to Diana Krall. Both women are tremendous singers, but from different genres. However, I like them both because they are excellent singers regardless of or even in spite of genre. Listening to both Diana Ross and Diana Krall doubles my bliss. And so does drinking lagers and porters. I like lagers, and, as it turns out, I like porters, too. It doubles my bliss. It happens that bliss has no limitations as to volume, and so you and I can experience exponential quauntities of bliss if only we permit ourselves the opportunity to branch out and sample from beer styles (and music genres) that are a diversion from our normal rut that we are in.

I stand on this soapbox today because, if I had not branched out, if I had gone my whole life thinking that these black porters were not for me, I would have missed out on a truly wonderful beer.

Taste: Delicious vanilla with the mild lingering of coffee, but in just the right proportions so that it does not over-stay its welcome.

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy like vanilla milk shake. It really is beer, isn't it?

Drink: Terrific drinkability if not for the slightly bit of coffee aftertaste.

A marvelous beer!!!

MikeInIowa, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of bamadog
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown with amber showing through when held to the light; big 2 finger, rocky and pock-marked head that is very light tan in color and has solid retention -- leaves a nice lacing the whole way down the glass as it fades to a thick skim on the top of the drink; appears largely free of sediment and seems clear.

Smell: Definite hints of vanilla (there probably better or else I would have to call shenanigans); behind that is a toasty maltiness and a bit of burnt sugar.

Taste: You know how Vanilla Coke tastes like regular coke with vanilla extract added? Well, this tastes like a nice toasty/malty porter with vanilla extract added. Vanilla is easily the most detectable flavor, also there is a bit of a slightly metallic component; behind that is the toasty maltiness that goes so far as being minimally chocolatey as well; a bit of a burnt roast and ever-so-slight presence of a hoppy bitterness lies in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with moderate, soft/bubbly carbonation; there is a nice coating left on the tongue.

Drinkability: It's not bad, but nothing that blew my mind. A solid enough drink that doesn't seem to pack too much of a punch in the ABV, so I could probably drink a few of these in a sitting, just not sure I'd choose to.

bamadog, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of chaunur
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark clear brown with a hint of redness, with a light tan 1/4 head, Possessed a malty, semi-sweet aroma with just a hint of the vanilla. A little weak for a porter in flavor, it certainly didn't jump out of the glass, again just a subtle hint of vanilla. Thin and watery in the mouth, I expect more heft from a porter. The beer also was underwhelming in the carbonation. Just an average beer

chaunur, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of ScreamForMe
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to seb for this one!

I suppose after sampling Harmon's Vanilla Porter yesterday I was expecting something similar from this brew. The nose is pretty much devoid of any noticeable vanilla - a trace perhaps, that's it.

There's a sweetness in the taste but, like the nose, not much vanilla coming though.

Easily drinkable but so are many other beers. Disappointing.

ScreamForMe, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown with medium head and medium carbonation

Smell: vanilla, extract, cream, and coffee

Taste: vanilla, cream, coffee, and malts

Mouthfeel: super sweet, borderline syrupy, medium heavy body

Drinkability: When I first had this, I had it on tap in Denver at the brewery. It was excellent and one of my favorite beers from the trip. In a bottle it tends to lose something. It is a bit sweeter. I could drink several at the brewery...from a bottle I think one is my limit.

tigg924, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color with ruby edges. Poured a half-finger light tan head that dissipated to and even layer. Light, broken lacing.

S: Lightly toasted malts and sweet cherries. Toasted malts more prevelant as the beer warmed. Surprisingly, no vanilla.

T: Mild toasted malt flavors up front then sweet light fruits. A hint of vanilla (but I was looking for it). Mild bitter finish to balance.

M: Light side of medium body. Enough carbonation to balance.

D: A little overly sweet in a bit of a cloying way. Suggest you let it warm a little.

Haybeerman, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown color with some reddish highlights. Three fingers of mocha head. Nice sticky lacing.

Sweet aroma. There's a fruity sweetness to go with roasted malts. I don't really smell any vanilla.

I'm just not getting any vanilla in this. It's subtle to the point I have no clue it's there. It's not nearly as sweet as it smells. The taste is kind of hard to describe. You really have to reach to come up with any flavors. There's a slight roast finish. Very slight. Not getting any of the sourness/acidity I've read in other reviews. I'll count that as a positive.

Body is on the thinner side of medium. Appropriate carbonation, and a smooth drinker. The taste and smell are decidedly average, but my rating will end up higher than it should be because of the appearance and pleasant feel. It would be hard to put back too many of these before losing interest. If I had to compare it to another beer, I'd probably go with a watered down Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

Gyle41386, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of grayburn
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is nice and dark with a tan foam on top...this however is the highlight for me because the vanilla in this beer is just overpowering, it seems almost fake.
The smell is high octane vanilla, almost like it was dry hopped with mccormick vanilla extract. The taste follows suit.
The mouthfeel is oily and greasy, decent carbonation.
I certainly could not drink more than one of these, it is just too much vanilla, not the smokey complex kind, but the sweet overpowering kind.

grayburn, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of dsa7783
2.63/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark, maroon-colored hue... Minimal head, moderate lacing...
Smell: purple grapes, chocolate, mocha essences...
Taste: Dark purple grapes, malts, cocoa, mocha, slightly sweet finish...
Nothing special...
A light-bodied porter...

dsa7783, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of geomedic
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Twelve-ounce bottle rough-poured into a room-temperature "Imperial" pint glass.

A: Nearly opaque black with dark red edges. Two finger tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves dense lasing all the way down the glass.

S: Sweet, slightly vanilla nose with roasty undertones.

T: The vanilla really comes through here and is very nicely balanced by roasty malt and coffee flavors. Some dark chocolate as well. This is a primarily sweet flavor that is well counter pointed by the heavier and roastier flavors commonly associated with the porter style. The sweet vanilla is prominent but not overdone. Breckenridge has found an excellent balance of flavors. Strong work!

M: A good chewy porter mouth feel.

D: This is an excellent beer but the sweetness limits drinkability somewhat in my opinion. Definitely worth a second pint, however.

Overall: A new favorite from a brewery I have known and loved since its founding. Keep it up!

geomedic, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of glid02
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this courtesy of daryk77 - thanks!

Pours a dark brown color with dark ruby highlights and a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted malts and sweet fruits, mostly cherries. I'm not getting much of a vanilla aroma at all. As the beer warms the roasted malt aromas come out a bit more but are still dominated by sweet fruits.

Tastes a bit better than how it smells, though I'm still getting no vanilla. Mild roasted malt flavors up front followed shortly by sweet fruits - again, mostly cherries - and ending with a mild roasted bitterness.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit on the thin side, though the carbonation is at a good level.

Drinkability is so-so. The sweetness is a bit cloying and it's definitely worth letting the beer warm up a bit.

Overall this wasn't a terrible beer but I don't see myself buying it again.

glid02, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of drtth
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a standard shaker glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Dark brown with light tan head receded to surface foam with minimal lacing.

Smell: Vanilla dominates and little else shows through but there are hints of chocolate.

Taste: Sweet vanilla taste dominates but some chocolate and caramel do show up.

Mouthfeel: Thin with light carbonation. Short finish with vanilla fading out.

Drinkability: At first it was OK, but not exceptional. After a while, however, I was ready for it to be gone before it was and I'm not sure I want more than one. Nor will I come back to it again.

drtth, Mar 15, 2009
Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 3,195 ratings.