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Vanilla Porter | Breckenridge Brewery

1,059 Reviews
For Trade:
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and Madagascar grows the perfect ingredient for an extraordinary Porter brewed in Colorado. Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter. An ale that has all the chocolate and roasted nut flavor of a classic Porter, with an enigmatic surprise thrown in for good measure.

Added by Mebuzzard on 01-13-2006

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Reviews: 1,059 | Ratings: 4,020
Photo of buffettfan
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was plesant. Appearnce was very dark, like drinking a pepsi. Decent head, didn't stick around too long. Smell was dominated by vinilla, as was the taste, with a sligh chocolate, and a little nutty coffee as well. Not overwhelming, but I would buy again, a nice, differant porter.

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Photo of Riggsy
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into Nonic pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, ruby highlights show off when held up to the light. A thin creamy beige head forms, falls quickly to a surface film which stays throughout.

Complex aroma of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Vanilla is pretty powerful which some might find off putting but I found it pretty pleasant.

Vanilla and an almost cloying sweetness dominate the flavor. Some chocolate and coffee in the background. The sweetness took away from this but would still be real good as a dessert beer.

Mouthfeel is full and thick, like syrup. Not much carbonation, some more might make it less heavy on the tongue.

Nice dessert beer, but wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of arizcards
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle in early April from AJ's for $1.59.

Beer poured a dark brown with little to no head. Nose is a pleasant aroma of vanilla and nothing much else. Taste is unbalanced, very heavy on the vanilla flavoring but not enough hop action to balance this out. Mouthfeel is very nice, extremely creamy and medium bodied. Drinkability is OK, but one is enough as this is too sweet. Fun to try and is worth a shot.

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Photo of StargherKing
4.31/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really looking forward to this one...after Breckenridge's amazing oatmeal stout, here's hoping I'm not let down. Pours a dark mahogony, almost black. Fluffy white head that slowly settles...beautiful. Smell is porter...hops and malt, coffee and cocoa, and of course, just a bit of vanilla. Taste is very similar, the hops fall to the back, with the coffee and vanilla coming out forefront. Not nearly as much vanilla as I thought, but it's certainly there. Mouthfeel is very nice, a little creamy, not overpoweringly so, very nice. Drinkability is amazing, but I have to admit that may be in part because the beer I drank before this wasn't quite as easy going down. I'll try this one again.

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Photo of crayphish
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This vanilla porter poured a deep dark brown. A small light brown head reduces quickly, some lacing left behind. Smell is vanilla cream, some subdued roasted elements as well. Taste is classic porter with the obvious vanilla element. The vanilla seemed to be more of an after taste, I'd have preferred it to be up front.The vanilla seems a bit too sweet, but is tempered by a hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and light. I found this porter fairly drinkable. An interesting brew indeed.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears a cola brown caramel hue head simply billows above the rim of the glass tan light beige head color with great retention lacing spreads evenly around my pint. Aromatics powderd cocoa mild coffee tones vanilla cream air as well good mix mild herbal hop flow pretty straight forward a little ripe fruit notes peaking through as well. Flavor wise heavy vanilla extract tones among some dark chocolate roastiness but the sweetness is too much completely overbears the natural porter qualities hard to detect the hops with all that extract a flowing. Mouthfeel is medium bodied creamy carbonation definitely feels silky on the palate pretty good feel to it. Drinkability is a bit rough with all of that cloying vanilla extract going on in this brew I'm just not into it can't for see trying this one again.

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Photo of atsprings
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice black that showed ruby highlights when held up to light. There was a thin off-white head that slowly diminished. The aroma was was a good blend of chocolate and black malts with vanilla coming through nicely. The taste was vanilla dominating the usual Porter flavors that were lingering in the background. The taste balance provided a nice smoothness that made this a very enjoyable Porter on a hot Summer afternoon. This is a very enjoyable beer that I'm certain I'll enjoy even more this Winter.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Many of the vanilla porters I've tasted have been over-done with vanilla extract that tends to build on the palate and lead to a nasty finish. This one, however, is at least a little bit more nicely balanced. The vanilla definitely makes it's presence known amidst the mildly roasty, chocolatey, and lightly caramelish character of the malt, but it doesn't cover them up. And it lingers nicely in the finish, without becoming too "artificial". The beer is well made and has a good appearance and head retention. As for drinkability, I still think that the vanilla has to hinder it on a volume scale (ie. it's kind of a one and done beer), and I don't think that it adds enough character and flavor to REALLY make you want to have one (ie. along the lines of a Sam Adam's Triple Bock). However, it's still pleasant enough throughout a single glass, and I'd enjoy having one during a night out with the lads or with dinner. I wonder how this might pair with something like honey-glazed wings, or potato pizza? I think it has the potential to work as more than just a dessert beer. Interesting.

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Photo of beeragent
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep brown, forming a very thin mocha head. Very few spots of lace. The aroma is dominated by the vanilla with slight notes of roasted barley coming through. The taste is also heavily dominated by the vanilla. A light coffee/chocolate flavor is present, but most of it is swept up by the vanilla. Medium bodied mouthfeel, and smooth finish. Good abv. and decent flavor can make this a sessionable ale, if you like your beer sweet. Overall, I thought that the porter qualities and the vanilla just were not a good combination. It makes for an interesting flavor combination, but not enough of the porter flavor was apparent. Maybe if a little less vanilla was used? Dont get me wrong, some beer styles benefit from vanilla being added (I love the Vanilla Creme Ale from Blackhorse), but IMO it doesnt work as well here. Just my two cents. Maybe I just need to try it more often, and let it grow on me. To be reviewed again...

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Photo of tastybeer
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks very dark. Deep woody, red color as light sneaks through. Head is a light beige, not that large, but does leave nice looking bits of lace. Smells light and creamy, with definite, but not overpowering vanilla, and fruit underneath. Malts taste toffee and caramel. Not an amazing aroma but enjoyable and pleasant. Taste is more interesting. Good malts, with obvious creamy vanilla and some pleasant smoky, meat seasoning-like flavors. The spicing fits in very soothingly with the vanilla. Certainly not overly vanilla like some other vanilla porters, or other styles that involve vanilla. Very pleasant. Not complex. easy going, and enjoyable. Texture is satiny and smooth. Just enough carbonation mixed in too. Very drinkable in my book.

A pleasant porter with some interestingly pleasant and likable things going on. Not cloying by any means either.

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Photo of DrWho
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A very interesting beer. The vanilla is very apparent and maybe a tad over-stated. Has a creamy mouthfeel that is smooth and very drinkable, there is a slight after-taste but its not bitter like some porters are. I got this bottle of Vanilla Porter at Capone's Restaurant out-side of Norristown, Pennsylvania. Big sellection to choose from, still finding my way.

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Photo of beerphilosopher
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep redish brown color with a moderate cocoa brown head that dissipates quickly. The nose is of dark roasted malts and a slight vanilla note. The palate is sweet upfront, with a strong vanilla flavor that tastes almost artificial. The sweetness gives way to a slightly dryer hop finish, though it remains quite sweet throughout. Mouthfeel is this ...maybe a bit thin for a Porter ... moderately carbonated. A nice beer to sample, or perhaps to enjoy along with a dessert, but a tad too sweet on it's own to enjoy in any quantity. I'd say a little easier on the vanilla bean and a little better malt/hop balance would make this a truly good vanilla porter.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.46/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite dark brown, whitish head is not overly abundant but sticks around for most of the beer.

Aroma is very faint, I get nothing roasted or dark about it. Mostly grain husk and lighter flavors.

Taste is abundant in vanilla sweetness. There's a roast astringency that's not present in the aroma, but even here it's faint. Very fruity flavor actually, it reminds me of a dessert that I can't think of.

Good mouthfeel, finish even and showcases the vanilla fullness, just the tiniest hair minty. An okay dark ale, for a robust porter fan I can't recommend but for those looking for different flavors in their brew here's a vanilla bean option.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
2.63/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours very dark, almost black. Small head with little lacing that sticks around. Aroma is of smoked toffee along with a hint of coffee, malt.
Taste is initally smooth and creamy then the vanilla & toffee kick in. Wow… this is quite overpowering but at the same time this is why I appreciate beer. The plethora of brews avaliable that all taste different. I have to admit quite drinkable but man does that vanilla stick around. Too much for me.
My least favorite brew from Breckenridge but have to appreciate it for the style. Maybe enjoy again someday with a good cigar, would make a GREAT partner in crime on that one.

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Photo of dgallina
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce brown bottle. Marked for freshness dating, but nothing is notched.

Pours red-edged dark brown with moderate carbonation. The tan head is quick-to-subside, leaving no trace and only faint lace. Rather cola-like in appearance. The smell is a little weak but pleasing. Nutty caramel and vanilla beans dominate, with toasted bread notes supporting. The flavor is a bit of a hodgepodge. Sweet malts and vanilla develop into a rough grain and lightly-hopped center. The finish features bitter roasted coffee, but this is nearly ruined by artificial-tasting off-notes from the vanilla. Body is light, somewhat limp and lifeless. Easy to drink, but not very well executed.

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Photo of jmalex
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is advertised as remarkable and partakable. This, I suspect, is true. I can certainly partake of this beer, and then I will give my remarks.

APPEARANCE: Pours with a very small head that goes down to almost nothing. The beer itself is a very dark brown that is only the slightest bit transparent. In general, I don't want to be able to see through my porters.

SMELL: Strong notes of vanilla and coffee seem to mask a less than great base porter. Sweet but slightly funky caramel and bitter malts along with a bit of diacetyl provide the backdrop. I like the vanilla though.

TASTE: My remarks regarding the smell hold true here as well. The taste is all over the place going from roasty to bitter to sweet to vanilla and back again. Not too bad, but the finish is bitter and off-putting.

MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is where I'd like it to be at a medium level, but the body is somewhat light. A dessert beer should have a little more chewiness to it.

DRINKABILITY: This beer is better than its score would indicate and would be really good with a fuller body and a more quality base beer. The vanilla is at a nice level and I wouldn't rule out having this again.

The beer advertises itself as never duplicated. After drinking it, I'm not sure it should be. There's definitely room to improve upon it though. A great idea with average execution.

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Photo of drseamus
2.71/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer has a good dark ruby color. A bit light for a porter, but it looks really nice. The aroma is all vanilla. Just like smelling a bottle of vanilla extract, only it's artificial smelling. There is a sweetness to it that I can only associate with artificial extract. The flavor is similar to the aroma seems very artificial. It has relatively high carbonation and almost tastes and feels more like a vanilla soda than a beer. I'm not crazy about this beer.

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Photo of Boppar
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, rich brown, with ruby highlights. I like this because it's not quite as dark as some porters, and is a throwback to when porters were still mixed at the bar: part stout, part bitters, part old ale. One finger of head which remains for about two minutes. Decent lacing which persists for the duration.

Smells like vanilla. Thankfully, it is not as over-powering as I had half-expected. Moderation is the name of the game.

Tastewise: well-pronounced (but not overwhelming) notes of vanilla bean right off the bat. Also, I certain, creamy, milk-like quality. It's reminiscent of vanilla ice cream, or maybe more accurately, of a root beer float. At first, there is a bitter, almost earthy quality as well although this diminishes over time. A little alcohol on the finish.

Moderate carbonation and milky creaminess.

Pretty drinkable. I could certainly put a few back.

A very interesting take on the porter style, and one worth trying.

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Photo of kpantz
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: Flavorful and easy-drinking. Just not very porter-like. I don't know - I'm just not feeling this as something I'd use to show someone what a porter can be.

Appearance: Deep, deep caramel with ruby highlights. Tan, fluffy head persists at a finger thick. Pretty good lacing.

Smell: sweet, mildly roasted malt. some vanilla (but not what I had expected). almost a cream soda smell to it.

Taste: Ah, there's the vanilla. It's prominent on the palate. Not really much here that actually tastes like beer. No hops to speak of, except perhaps a hint at the very back. Caramel here as well. This really is more like soda.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Very light carbonation. Actually pretty nice.

Drinkability: Very, very drinkable. I'm not getting overpowered by vanilla like some here. It's not a bad porter...just not exactly what I like in one. Still, it's highly quaffable and pretty accessible in terms of flavor.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish-brown color with a medium thick tan head with decent retention. The lacing is pretty good, it coats much of the glass. Strong vanilla aroma along with some chocolate and malt. Medium body, smooth with just a bit of carbonation. Flavors of vanilla bean, roasted malt and more chocolate. The finish maintains the vanilla theme, with a nice nutty flavor in the aftertaste. Unlike a lot of Breckenridge beers, I would actually seek this out to try again.

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Photo of seedee17
3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is one of the first I'm having this evening in celebration of the end of finals week. Hooray!
I let this one warm up to about 60 degrees F, and vigorously poured into a tumbler. A nice dark tan head that fades to a film but never disappears. Dark brown beer, ruby when held up to the light. Aromas of caramel and roasty malts, and a hint of alcohol. The vanilla aroma was undetectable at first, but it came through after it warmed up a bit more. A very nice porter, smooth and caramely, with the vanilla giving it an almost cocoa like flavor. A hint of hop bitterness on the finish keeps the sweetness in check. The mouthfeel is outstanding. Perfect carbonation and viscosity, it's like buttah. This beer is pleasant and quite drinkable, with the vanilla only serving to enhance the flavors, rather than taking center stage. Very tastefully done and "partakable".

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Photo of jtslay
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours very dark with minimal head. The taste consists of coffee, vanilla, and toast. It has a creamy mouthfeel and is only moderately drinkable. Very good session beer as it didn't mess up my palate like some other stouts and porters. Very good experience with this beer.

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Photo of Foxman
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a muddy brown, very dark and hazy, with ruddy highlights at the margins. A finger of light brown head flickers away in a neutrino-flash. Lacing is like a needle, as in a haystack.

The aroma is a bit challenging, as it's quickly dispersed and offers only hints at dark roasted malt, toffee, and the namesake vanilla. Likewise is the veneer of hop presence.

Upon tasting, the elements are much more assertive and meshed, with a slight roasted malt char mingling with molasses and a mild toffee sweetness, as well as a touch of dark cocoa. The middle forward is dominated by vanilla, as though the bean had been scraped right into the kettle. A distant hop presence peeks through toward the close, and the finish is reasonably dry and crisp. As a vehicle for the mentioned vanilla, it's actually a very capable mover.

Light bodied, it's a very round body, with a creaminess that caresses as it passes over the palate.

After my first few whiffs I feared this would be one more beer with an add-on flavor in its name that failed to deliver on its promise. After a taste, though, that fear was dispelled, as the vanilla is not only present, but also a surprisingly cogent companion to the rest of the beer's flavor profile. The light character and tastiness combine to make it nicely drinkable. Bravo to Breckenridge for blending the vanilla the way a good flavoring should.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a .4 liter chalice yields a nice ecru head over an opaque dark brown body. The head diminished quickly to a ring, with nice lacing. Attractive.

Smell of vanilla hits you immediately. Strong vanilla smell -- I mean strong, like across the room. Pleasantly warm vanilla at that.

Taste is like a vanilla coke with the sugar removed. Fascinating. Overwhelmingly vanilla, and I'm drinking this cold. When warm, it would be like chewing on a vanilla bean. There's a bit of chocolatey malt there and maybe one hop, or one half of a hop. I repeat: fascinating. Do I like it? I think I do.

Mouthfeel is not as thin as you might expect from a 4.7% beer, but then vanilla has a mouth-coating effect.

Drinkability would be excellent in terms of the alcohol, but the vanilla flavor is so present that this baby might wear out your palette.

I really, really like things that have vanilla in them, so take my rating numbers with a grain of salt -- or a vanilla bean, as the case may be.

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Photo of bort11
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Label shows it was bottled in the second week of March. Head starts as a fizzy sounding quarter inch cap and then recedes to almost nothing. A thin lace falls down the glass when tipped. Color is a dark caramelized sugar brown with red notes when held to the light.
Smell is very sweet with the vanilla bean. It smells like a roasted vanilla rather than an artificial vanilla. Taste is also sweet, like a vanilla bean ice cream. A smooth malt character helps support the vanilla. A mild pepper/spice note is hinted at in the finish.
The mouthfeel is a lot lighter than what I would expect. Still very creamy with a mellow carbonation.
This is a nice dessert beer. The sweetness would be too much for me for more than one. I enjoyed this quite a bit.

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Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 1,059 ratings.