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Vanilla Porter - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,391 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,391
Reviews: 976
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.66%
Wants: 81
Gots: 434 | 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)
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Ratings: 3,391 | Reviews: 976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vdread
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter pours out a dark, almost black, ruby color with a flat little mocha colored head that disappates quickly into nothing. it looks like i'm drinking a Coca-Cola.

i can smell some roastiness, vanilla.

the taste is of over the top vanilla and roasted malts, some light chocolate notes. pretty standard porter fare, but the vanilla seems strong. my friend says he can't taste any vanilla at all, though.

mouthfeel is light for the style, but slightly creamy.

i have enjoyed one or two of these from time to time. i probably will again.

and just for fun:
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter Aged one year (accidental experiment)

pours deep brown with red around the edges. no head, just a thin, sick looking collar. smells of vanilla and sour milk. tastes sickeningly sweet, with the overt artificial vanilla taste. has a slight porter taste. much more roasted porter taste than a fresh bottle, but also much more sour and sweet. mouthfeel light and slick, maybe a little creamy at times. drinkability low. i could barely finish this. obviously, this beer is not meant for age.

Photo of joshuadlight
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer is such a disappointment. Its not that I've been blown away by Breckenridge's offerings, but its even below the average stuff they churn out.
First of all, this hardly gets your mouth watering when you can see easily all the way through it without even holding it to light. Its far from black and there is no head to speak of.
Vanilla is oily, and clouds most everything else. It doesn't seem like it was brewed with vanilla beans, but rather like they took a weak porter and poured some extract in it.
Its fine as a session if watery and clear porters are your thing.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.23/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle: Poured a light black color porter with a medium bubbly head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of light vanilla with some distinctive sour notes. Taste was also dominated by sour notes and light vanilla. Body is really thin with some average carbonation. I don't know if this was infected but it really wasn't appealing to me.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A vigorous, direct into the middle of the glass pour produces a decently sized beige head of tightly packed bubbles but little texture. There's a just better than nothing lace. The beer is dark brown and when held up to the light seems pretty clear and has plenty of active carbonation. Head retention is poor.

S: Nice vanilla and malt smell. Some roasted character, but more on the dark caramel side than outright roasted. It doesn't smell strong, but oddly it still manages to fill the air around me with a vanilla-y aroma.

T: Taste is similar to the smell, though I get more vanilla and less roast in general. Gives it a sort of cola/root beer/cream soda taste that's kinda nice. The vanilla is more pronounced as it warms.

M: Very smooth. Almost flat? There's no carbonation sparkle on the tongue, that's for sure.

D: Pretty drinkable, not amazing, I'm still not THAT into this beer, but it's good.

Photo of rfgetz
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy dark brown in color. Pours with little head and little lacing. Smell is a very mild roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla. Whiffs of earth and smoke also present. Taste follows smell with a mild blend of medium roasted coffee, semi sweet chocolate, vanilla and sugar. Does indeed have a smokey and earthy quality as well. Medium bodied, on the thinner side of a porter. Decent beer, best served as close to room temperature as possible to get all the nuances.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. Head is a fluffy mass that leaves sheets of lacing.

Aroma is charred dark grain, vanilla, and powdered cocoa. However, there is also a strange vegetal quality.

Taste is exactly what the nose described. Smokey dark grain and vanilla dominate. Chocolate, nut, and hints of toffee make an appearance. Finishes with a musty, stale coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, soft and smooth.

Worth a try, but not outstanding. A little syrupy for my taste, with a touch too much vanilla and an odd off finish.

Photo of ski271
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear, slightly ruddy, dark brown with a small, tan, foamy head that slowly dimishines to a thin film. Smells of lightly smokey, roasted malts with light vanilla. Taste follows suit, but with the vanilla MUCH more noticable. It has a medium-full body, texture starts out creamy, then gets a little syrupy, and then turn dry late on the finish. It's not a very complex beer. Not terrible, but nothing special.

Photo of Redrover
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like the Breckenridge beers I have drank, so I had high hopes for this one. On tap for $2.75 at the Flying Saucer in Houston (great Monday night specials!). Served in a standard pint, the beer us dark brown with a tan head. Decent lacing.

It has a aroma of vanilla and dark roasted malts.

The taste leads with roasted malts and sweet vanilla and slowpoke sucker. I like it, but it's a bit understated. Everything was tad subdued.

The mouth borders on thin, but it is silky. This is a once a month desert type beer for me.

Photo of kerklein2
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a shaker pint. Head is very thin, even when vigorously poured. Lacing is slight. Color is dark but with a nice ruby red feel. I would expect more head out of a porter.

S: The smell is mostly of vanilla but some of the chocolate sneaks through as well. A little bit of bourbon in there too.

T: Really heavy on the vanilla, but I personally like that. Some bourbon taste too, but that may just be the vanilla. The chocolate, caramel, and roasty notes really play second fiddle to the vanilla. Not much bitterness but the bitterness that does come across seems more of a bourbon bitterness than a hop bitterness.

M: Very creamy in texture, almost like a stout. I think this one blurs the line between porter and stout. For how creamy it is, it finishes a little empty, a little watery. This watery flavor lingers in your mouth and takes away from the excellent start.

D: I personally love the vanilla richness of this beer, but a lot of people may find it too overwhelming. At 4.7% ABV, I'll probably polish off this 6er I'm working on.

Overall, the beer is exactly what it says it is and I'm very happy with it. Would definitely purchase again.

Photo of mntlover
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown some red when held to the light thumb sized brownish head falss to ring some lacing left behind.

Aroma is light roasted malts some chocolate hints mixed with vanilla and some sweetness.Little light maybe but eenkoyble non the less.

Taste is like aroma but little milder, some roasted notes llightly sweet. Chocolate notes mingle with vanilla hints. Finish is light sweetness and some bittering hops. Overall flavor is on the light side not as good as the nose indicates.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of medium carbonation is decent non issue. Just seems like the flavor a little light.

Drinkability is like the taste decent but not good enough to make you want to purchase more really. Vanilla is on light side also for a so called vanilla porter.

Photo of apbarwood
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark dark brown color with some redness against the light. Nice lace on the sides of the glass and swirling on the top of the beer. Almost nothing on the aroma, a faint sweetness that I guess is supposed to be vanilla but it's hard to tell. The flavor started weak but strengthened as it warmed up. A subtle vanilla flavor that isn't really all that pleasant and some mild roasted malt. Also, it kind of sticks to the mouth and given it's less than stellar flavor, it's not a welcome stickiness. All things considered a very disappointing brew, I expected more from these guys and this beer in particular but found it very lackluster. Very unmemorable and lacking any kind of direction. The flavors and aromas that were present were either uninteresting or unpleasant.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with no date poured into a tumbler. Practically no head at all and just a thin foam skim on the top of the beer and the edge of glass. No lacing. The beer is a dark orange-red.

Smell - when the beer is cold I smell nothing. Upon warming up I get some hints of vanilla and a hint of those coffee/porter smells one gets from the roasted malts. But not a lot.

Taste - when cold its mostly sweet - so like others have recommended I let it warm up before drinking more. Upon warming I get that sweet vanilla at first (reminded me a bit of a cream soda) followed by coffee and mild bitter. Guessing correctly the beer would be on the sweet side it went really well with chocolate chip cookies. It's a nice blend of flavors but you really must let it warm up. Cold out of the bottle I thought I was having a soda. Once warm though it's much more like a real porter with vanilla flavor balanced with the typical porter tastes.

Mouthfeel - no carbonation, a bit thick and it evenly coats the tongue and throat. Goes down smoothly.

Drinkability - I'm finding I'm enjoying porters so much that I may change my favorite beer type, but for me this is a beer that I have because the combination of flavors sounds interesting, but it's not an outstanding porter. This means that if I had to choose between this porter and another, I'd probably pick the other one. Not because I didn't like it, but because I want just the coffee and chocolates in the porter, not the vanilla so much. It's strictly a personal taste issue - some people like white chocolate, some people like dark chocolate. I like a normal porter but this Vanilla porter was a good experience just not my favorite flavor combination.

Photo of PerroGrande
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours to a deep orange-red with a moderately thick, tan foamy head. The foam disperses at a moderate pace, leaving only a few laces on the glass.

Smell: Certainly noticeable vanilla aroma. Otherwise, nothing stands out to my rather insensitive nose.

Taste: Opens rather tamely and indistinctly. Nothing bad or offensive in the opening -- just nothing overwhelming or even distinct. Vanilla steps in throughout, along with some gentle malt tones. Finish is smooth and fades gently away leaving only some hints of vanilla. Given the opportunity to warm and breath, some hops show up *very* subtly in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for a porter, in my opinion. Smooth, although not particularly creamy.

Drinkability: Certainly not a bad drinking experience. ABV is certainly manageable. Seems to improve with some opportunity to breathe and warm. I might try another one of these at a slightly higher temperature.

I'd like to try this beer with various foods -- although there is a distinct risk that it would be overwhelmed by a highly flavored food. Recommendation: Pour this, let it breathe and warm before drinking.

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cola appearance, brown edges, momentary light brown head that left a ring and a wispy centre with no visible carbonation. Smell was more dark chocolate than vanilla, there was a dry cocoa aroma. Tasted more like a vanilla flavoured beer than one brewed with vanilla beans per se. Bitterness lacking and no hop presence or astringency whatsoever. Mouthfeel was a bit silky yet syrupy. As I sipped on, this beer reminded me very much of a flat cola - featureless and uninspired. Finish was equally one dimensional and I couldn't be sure if it conjured up dark chocolate or vanilla extract. If one argues that the chocolate predominates, it certainly wasn't akin to a bakers chocolate as it lacked the bitter edge. Body quite thin for the style. Unfortunately, this beer did not live up to its promising label (which includes the advisement that it was brewed with "real vanilla beans' - as opposed to "imaginary vanilla beans" I suppose?). This is worth a try, if only once.

Photo of projectflam86
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep dark brown color with a thin foam head. Not much lacing left.

S- Hints of roasted malt and vanilla. Not quite as strong as I had hoped.

T- The flavor is a bit stronger than the nose but could hardly be considered strong. A decent rush of roastedness with a fair amount of vanilla extract flavoring in the finish.

M- A bit light for what I was expecting. Still fairly smooth and a bit creamy.

D- Not a bad brew, just wish the flavor and nose were a bit more intensified.

Photo of frequentgear
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

pours some appealing creamy head, which fades to almost nonexistent lace. dark red, practically brown.

smells delicious, sweet bread and vanilla/liquor scents.

slight malty taste. not very much in the way of body. the vanilla is powerful and isn't as good as it smells, but tastes sweet before a somewhat bitter finish/aftertaste. kinda reminds me of vanilla cola...or flavored coffee creamer, in a not-so-good way. would rather have a full porter or a stout. it's okay

wouldn't really seek it out again though.

Photo of NekotoNikku
3.05/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown color, when held up to the light it becomes a deep ruby color, very pretty.

S - Very spicy vanilla smell, after smelling that I expected to be in for a treat.

T - Semi-dry tasting with a taste similar to the smell of a 'spicy' vanilla rather than a cloying sweet imitation vanilla, also I expected this to be a little sweeter, but it was rather bitter.

M - Rough on the tongue because it went from tasting deliciously of vanilla to an incredible bitter taste, which didn't seem to flow well.

D - I was saddened by this beer because it had such an incredible smell, but the taste wasn't really what I was looking for. If only it tasted more smoothly of vanilla perhaps I would considering drinking again.

Photo of biegaman
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I think "vanilla porter" I envision the contrast of black and white. What is in my glass now is exactly that vision. It is a sooty, opaque black body set in opposition to the fuzzy white head that rests over top of it. (OK, there may be a little tapioca stain to that foam, but it still stands out as a clear mismatch.) Lacing shaped like commas, periods and semi-colons add punctuation (literally?) to a nice appearance.

Does it smell like cheap vanilla extract? A little. But I wouldn't consider it cloying or artificially sweet. I'd say - and this could just be me - that it fairly closely resembles actual vanilla bean. But whether the vanilla smells artificial or not is a moot point because the porter side of things is non-existent. Beyond the buttery vanilla is... not much. Or anything.

Porters are often redolent of chocolate and coffee, delicious flavours that make a natural match for vanilla. The idea to brew a vanilla-infused porter is ingenious really. So how did Breckenridge forget to include the porter? There is nothing dark or roasty or malty about this. Hell, there isn't even that much vanilla! If this odd, unusual and awfully off-putting smell of biscuits is any indication, this porter is a remarkable failure.

The taste is a step-up but it doesn't entirely leave behind that bizarre (and frankly sullying) taste of stale biscuits. The vanilla isn't as tasty as it often is in flavoured coffees or ice creams. If only they could improve the malt bill this has the potential to be delicious. All it needs is some caramely maltiness, a bit more smokey roast, some chocolaty fudge or maybe a drop of coffee - you know, the flavours you would typical expect from a porter?!

I enjoyed this beer much more the first time around. Of course, my palate wasn't nearly as fine-tuned three years ago as it is today. Sample size definitely factored into it as well; now having a full bottle I'm finding the vanilla, amicable enough as it is, can really grow cloying without a proper malt bill to support it. This is more of a soda than anything else.

Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter is most definitely not remarkable, as its label proclaims it to be. I love porters and I love vanilla - the two seem a natural match. I would have thought a beer like this would have a werewolf-like effect on me; I expected to start acting all unpredictably, howling at the moon and such. And I'm sure a beer like this can have such an effect - if done right and made well. This example was most certainly not.

Photo of taxguyjase
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't recall every having a vanilla porter before and if this one is an example of other vanilla porters, I think I will really enjoy them. This beer has a really nice stout flavor to it with enough vanilla to taste it, but not enough to make it taste like you've been eating whole vanilla beans.

The vanilla flavor really hits in the aftertaste. A smooth and tasty brew with a light scent with a hint of malt. Only 16 IBUs and 4.7% ABV, which was surprising. My wife really enjoyed this one and she's not much of a porter fan. So, would definitely be one we'd get again for universal appeal.

Photo of barnzy78
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

6oz sampling. Second time trying this porter. Poured dark brown with a slight red hue at the edges of the glass when held to the light. Fairly thin off-white head dissipates fairly quickly and leaves little lace. Aromas are sweet with scents of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and some mild fruitiness - smells like a vanilla porter. Tastes are sweet with notes of coffee, chocolate and loads of vanilla that seems to be overbearing at times. Overall, it's ok in small doses, but I'm not a fan of the excessive vanilla flavors.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P- Grape and Gourmet in Va Beach

A- a dark mahogany brown color. Looks like stained wood. Head doesnt stay long and there is minimal lacing.

S- vanilla is dominant as well as some molasses. a toasted nut type of smell lingers as well.

T- a toasted vanilla bean/nut flavor. Very sweet like fructose.

M- creamy/chewy. nice porter coating in the mouth as well.

D- not bad but it is thick and filling. It would be a nicebeer to cook with but im not sure about drinking on a regular basis.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. No date or info on the bottle.

A - Clear red-ish brown through the light but otherwise a dark beer. A moderate pour released a low tan head with a touch of lacing.

S - Really low aroma level. Roasted malts and a very light touch of vanilla but it almost has a low rotten fruit aroma. Not very pleasant.

T - Roasted, dry malts with a coffee and chocolate hint blends well with the vanilla but I remember it being a fuller flavor. Maybe this one is on its way out.

M - Smooth and just a bit creamy, it washes down dry with a very light alcohol finish. Medium-full in body.

D - I can't really tell if this is a touch too old. It's starting to get better but really isn't as good as I remember it being. Regardless of the past, it's still a deserving porter. Flavorful and drinkable, it makes for a good sipper or session flavored porter. I should get a 6er.

[As it got warmer more nuances pulled out. Probably needs to be served closer to 60 degrees rather than the 50 I had it at.]

Photo of kegger22
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very little head, but a rich, dark brown color. The aroma was vanilla and some alcohol. The vanilla was a nice change of pace from the long line of coffee and chocolate stouts and porters (not that its bad). Feel was adequate for a porter. Drinkability was average.

Photo of BrewIndy
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: No head. Dark with some brown hints in it.

S: There are some chocolate and coffee tones in there. You'd think you'd smell vanilla but I can't.

T: Ah, there is the vanilla. I was getting worried. Beyond that tho you have the typical porter taste but the vanilla almost makes it seem watered down. Good beer, but I think it's a stretch with the vanilla flavor added in. Maybe your girlfriend will like it.

M: Feels like a flat cola. Kind of like what a flat cream soda would feel. That may sound bad but it works on this one.

D: Eh. The taste kills it for me. I'm sue you could drink several but I'll be switching after this one.

Overall: Like I said, this is one for the ladies. I'd rather stick to a truer porter or possibly a brown. BB, can we get a brown with some vanilla in it? I'd try it at the very least :)

Photo of Snyder18
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark reddish brown in color. Very thin layer beige head that disappears quickly.

Smell - sweet, chocolatey, vanilla bean.

Taste - roasted, chocolate, vanilla, creamy rich, toasted/burnt finish. Subtle hop bitterness stays in the background, becomming more noticeable as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied, with a rich creamy texture.

Drinkability - When paired with the right foods the drinkabitliy improves a great deal. Really enjoyable beer, but by itself the vanilla can become a little overwhelming before long.

Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,391 ratings.