Vanilla Porter - Breckenridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,717 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,717
Reviews: 1,076
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 114
Gots: 745 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mebuzzard on 01-13-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,717 | Reviews: 1,076
Photo of StoutHearted
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is inky black, wit ha half-inch of foamy head. It smelt of licorice and molasses, which kind of anticipated a sickly-sweet taste. However, the vanilla comes in and saves it, adding in some sarsaparilla, and a hint of something else... anise? I dug the mouthfeel, which was creamy, like a scoop of ice cream was plopped in the glass. But this beer doesn't feel right for anything but sipping, and I'd recommend it for dessert.

Photo of Pauly2X
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Very dark brown beneath a ricky one finger head.

S- Roasted sweet malt aroma with hints of vanilla.

T- At first roasted malts lend way to ever so slightly sweet malts in the middle. An earhty hop finish with hints of vanilla wrap things up nicely.

M- Typicall nothing special.

D- I could see getting an itch for this from time to time.

I have to admit I was scared when I saw "Vanilla" on the label. Imediate thoughts were of vanilla flavors overpowering everything else, but this is not the case. This is a really great beer to introduce people to darker beers. Not too shabby.

Photo of csmiley
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Appears dark brown in color. Almost opaque but some light is getting through around the edges. Head was average at a little more than half inch. Retention was average. Lacing was good.

S - Vanilla dominates the aroma. There is a background with roasted notes and coffee. Overall the aroma is light on the nose.

T - Vanilla takes over the taste department, to the point of becoming cloying. There are sensations of roasted malt and and chocolate finishing it up but they are just too mild campared to the vanilla.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Finish is a little sweet thanks to the massive amount of vanilla.

D - Drinkability is average at best. The vanilla is just way too strong in this beer. There is nothing in the beer that really comes close to balancing that vanilla flavor.

Photo of mattster
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured 12 Fluid Ounce bottle into Nonic glass. Bottle date not marked.

Poured a nice had of 1" that reduced to light lace across top of mostly opaque dark, dark brown brew. I would be more convinced of real vanilla bean if there were bits in the glass, but that is not always possible - I guess.

Smells of - guess what - VANILLA, no other notable smells - but it is pleasant - not too sweet of a vanilla smell. Taste of vanilla is very dominant, but there is also a slight hint of coffee. Bubbles are a little more than they should be (in my humble opinion). Except for bubbles, very smooth aftertaste. Is a drinkable brew, nothing outstanding though (I would drink another if I had it).

Photo of kurtissellen
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark chocolate with just under a finger of head and very little lacing. Had a strange sort of chemical smell to it maybe a little black licorice, my wife said it reminded her of green olives, either way I did not get any vanilla out of it. Amazing first sip tasted exactly like vanilla pipe smoke then a toasted marshmallow followed by roasted malts and more vanilla. I really liked the strong vanilla flavor of this one and would definitely try it again.

Photo of omnigrits
3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A careful pour into my straight 16oz glass produced a rather thin, off-white head that subsided after a minute or two and resulted in a thin film on the top of the pint. Halfway decent lacing, if I'm being generous. Holding the glass up to the light reveals a very dark ruby colour, a bit like an old Elton John LP (yes, some of those are red, not black if you hold them up to the light).

I'm getting very little aroma from the glass - some dark malt and maybe a hint of vanilla, but I wouldn't have been able to identify it without already knowing this is a vanilla . It definitely comes through in the flavour though. Moderately bitter, rather sweet, a bit like a vanilla and chocolate milk shake with added malt. Not really what I'm looking for in a beer, unfortunately. I don't think I'll be interested in drinking another one of these tonight.

Photo of tmitch75
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark opaque brown with slightly lighter brown at the edges. Almost no head, but sticky lacing all around.

Very clear vanilla smell, nothing else gets through. Not very subtle.

Vanilla is the main taste, but there is some roastiness, coffee, chocolate, and a light bitterness.

A little light on the body, no carbonation to speak of.

Easy to drink but a little too gimmicky.

Tasted on 2/23/08.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A reasonably vigorous pour only produces a thin finger thickness, lightly browned, tan colored head. The beer is a deep brown color that is almost black, but it does show a clear, concentrated, ruby hue when held up to the light. Light aromas of vanilla mix in with roasty dark malt notes. The nose has a slight burnt acidity to it, some well toasted bread aromas, a touch of blackened espresso notes and perhaps a touch of malty chocolate. The vanilla is fairly restrained, though easily noticeable, but the base beers aroma does not seem to match the vanilla notes very well.

Not as thin as I was expecting, this has a soft creaminess to it and a certain fullness to it that helps to lightly coat the mouth. The vanilla is much more noticeable in the flavor than it was in the aroma. The vanilla definitely dominates the flavor profile, but there is still some roast grain character that pokes through especially towards the finish were bitter, burnt flavors kick in a bit along with a touch of roast acidity. The vanilla is accented by sweet malt flavors that are note really noticeable underneath the vanilla notes, but are definitely here. This has a very low hop presence, as expected, with perhaps a touch of bitterness being all I notice.

This is definitely a vanilla focused brew, this would not be such a bad thing if the base beer was a bit more noticeable underneath. Instead all I really get is an overly burnt malt character, that doesn't really seem to contribute positively. Though I really like the texture and mouthfeel of this brew.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of abankovich
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An aggressive pour into my snifter resulted in about a 1 finger head with some very airy bubbles all over the glass. A very nice deep brown color in the glass with a contrasting off-white head that dissipated somewhat quickly, mostly clinging to the sides of the glass.

Upon smelling, the vanilla is definitely very prominent, reminds me of cooking with vanilla extract. Any other aromas are very well hidden behind the vanilla and I don't really notice them, which I wish I could.

The initial taste reminded me of a vanilla/chocolate ice cream cone put into a milkshake. Definitely on the sweeter side of things and it actually has a lighter mouthfeel than I was expecting. The chocolate is present, but fleeting. The same story with any sort of toasted flavors, they are just barely noticeable. The bubbles that are left around the side of the glass feel very thin, kind of like bubbles you blow in milk with your straw as a kid. Makes me wish the head was a little more substantial. A sort of sour milk, sticky/clinging feel is left in my mouth. It's not an offensive taste, and not unpleasant... just a little odd.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle that I purchased on my trip up to Ohio. Not really too familar with the Vanilla porter but I thought it looked intresting so i figured I would give it a try. Served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very deep dark brown, almost black with the exception of a touch of light shining through on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Decent amount of head on top, with a nice off white or light tan color that reached a heaight of around two fingers before settling back down and leaving behind a nice film across the top with more then adequate side glass lace.

S - The aroma was very rich and sweet and I was able to pick up on this almost immediatly. A very nice full smell, lots of roasted nuts are in here with a good touch of vanilla as well. Nice sweet caramel aromas and a touch of coffee too, not bad at all.

T - The flavor followed the same course as well. Really nice flavors of coffee and roasted nuts were apparent from the very beginning. These gave way to a nice earthy sweetness with lots of caramel and vanilla coming through here and really pushing the sugar envelope. Finish was nice a touch dry but with a long ligering sweetness.

M - The feel was a little light for a porter but still pretty decent. Lots of carbonation on this one and it was definitly very smooth, that was a definite. Nice somewhat creamy feel in the beginning thinned out as you went on.

D - This was easily a nice session beer for someone with a sweet tooth. Nothing in here that would really detract from having more then one of it. Not bad at all.

Overall I thought this was decent. Nothing really bad about it at all, just nothing here really blew me away really. I could have had another with a doubt. A solid call but its not gonna blow you away.

Photo of udubdawg
2.16/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

arrives dark brown, with a little reddish color at the edges. Head is fizzy like that of a cola and quickly redeces.
I appreciate good vanilla, but if this was good vanilla it was ruined in the process. Very extract-y. Artificial almost. A light toasted malt aroma underneath - where's the roasted malt? Smells waaay too sweet. Let's give it a try...
Nope, not for me. Sweet, definitely qualifies as cloying. Rampant vnailla, light roasty and toasty malt flavors. Just a little bit drying. I keep thinking of creme soda although it isn't quite THAT sticky.
Thin (although as much as I dislike the flavor, I suppose it could be worse if it wasn't so thin!) too spiritzy, again reminiscent of a soft drink. I'll have great deal of trouble finishing this one, and won't order another anytime soon. Sure, you could pay me to drink this, but there are so many better examples out there...

Photo of jim102864
2.19/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Another selection while at Gingerman, Dallas. Inky black appearance in my pint glass. Very thin head. Here's where it all goes downhill. Aroma? What aroma? It was barely perceptable. Don't you think this thing would be brimming with vanilla and chocolate malt? Couldn't detect anything at all. The taste was equally distressing. Only the slightest hint of vanilla and maybe a whiff of coffeee bean (moreso than vanilla bean). It tastes bland. This thing has no balls whatsoever. I even let it warm up and still nothing. I suppose its drinkable if you're into very mild, somewhat flavorless beer. A total snoozefest.

Photo of TYE
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours black with an off-white to tan thick head about 1-inch tall. Dissipated quickly to a light covering. Light lacing.
S - Light roasted nut and a hint of vanilla with a light chocolate brownie aroma accompaniment. Wait, maybe a hint of soy sauce?
T - Vanilla bean is definitely the major flavor wrapped in a lightly roasted basting. Very lightly bitter. All tastes are well blended, though.
M - Very lightly carbonated. Medium to full body. Light bitterness at back of tongue.
D - I'm really taking to this one. Very subtle flavors individually, but together they work as well as peanut butter and jelly. Good transition or session beer, maybe. May get just a little too sweet, though.

Photo of scottbrew4u
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured out a rich tan head that stood two fingers tall. Deep mahogany color with good clarity this beer looked picture perfect.The aroma is sweet and caramel, vanilla and raisins come through in the beginning and then I perceive some canned corn smell. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium body with light carbonation. There is a good layering of brussels lace as this beer goes down.
First taste is semi-sweet and the malt character is a bit weak and there is a metallic flavor that brings down the rating. Vanilla is noticeable and in more quantity than other vanilla beers I have had. Not a terrible beer and the flaws can be overlooked.

Happen to have this with some caramel corn and it was a descent pairing.

Photo of wingman14
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a redish black with a thin off white head. The smell is of roasted malt with hints of sweet and vanilla. The taste follows suit, starts sweet and malty with a roasted finish. The mouthfeel is thinner than expected, a bit watered down for a porter, decent carbonation. This is an easy drinker, not a huge amount of flavor, a bit disappointing, not the best out there. If it was thicker with a better balance it would be a better beer.

Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single bottle from Abe's.
Not a bad dessert beer, if you're in to vanilla. It looks a dark brown with an off-white head. Not much lacing, but there are more important elements to beer. The aroma is of vanilla and chocolate grains. Those carry over into the flavor, along with deeper roasted flavors. The mouth is on the dry side and a little bitter, but smooth enough. Like I said, a decent dessert beer.

Photo of srrn
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer pours a deep dark brown, there is minimal head. Smell is malt and a hint of vanilla. Taste is smooth malts first then the vanilla kicks in and finally a bit of bitterness. There is a long pleasantly bitter finish. This is another of the few beers I find nothing objectional, yet don't really feel like drinking another. I love vanilla, but really have had few flavored beers I like.

Photo of iceviper22
4.27/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a deep brown/black with red tints shining through and about one finger of light tan loose foamy head that dissipates quickly to a lacy ring around the glass.

It has strong spicy aromatic smells similar to cinnamon and nutmeg along with the vanilla upfront. Consists of some chocolate and caramel traces too.

I nice vanilla taste is immediate and follows through to the finish along with chocolate and coffee flavors. It has a slight warming alcohol presence that gives it little kick.

The mouthfeel is full and somewhat chewy with a little carbonation that isn't overwhelming. Nicely rounded out and smooth.

Overall, this is a good solid warming brew that I enjoyed. The vanilla and porter characteristics and balance for a nice smooth taste and texture making it a good drinkable beer. Probably very good with desert.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark dark brown almost black beer. One inch of creamy tan head that rings the glass after every swig.

Smells like some roasted nut and malts. There is a definite vanilla aroma that revolves around the other scents. It kind of hangs over every thing subtly.

The taste is almost all vanilla. The malt hops and nuttiness that is there is dwarfed by the big vanilla flavors. Big sweet vanilla, it tastes like a cream soda.

Not bad if your into a sweeter almost "dessert beer" especially one that has the smoothness of this porter. It is a glassy beer and has nice flavors but the vanilla is a bit too much for my pallet. I am tired of the flavors before I get to the end of the glass. No more then one of these a night unless you want to become a diabetic.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep, deep brown with a 1/4 inch head. Smelled of malt and a little bit of vanilla on the nose. The nose could have been stronger. Taste was of vanilla up front but not as much as I thought but the vanilla stays around throughout the taste and mouthfeel. Overall a good vanilla porter but it was to subtle on the taste for me.

Photo of bboven
2.81/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thin but lasting head, medium to dark brown body, hazy except when you put it under direct light.

Stale brown malts in the aroma. Bit of cooked vanilla.

Pretty much a brown ale with a touch of vanilla. Definitely not a porter. Sorry.

Over-carbonated and rough at that.

Glad I tried it once. Would NOT try it again.

Photo of tgbljb
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep reddish brown color with moderate tannish head. Good retention with attractive lacing.
Smell blends chocolate and vanilla nicely.
Taste has the vanilla in the forefront with some malt sweetness bacing it up.
Too much vanilla for my likeing.
One is OK, more would be too much.

Photo of Chaz
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper-brown in color, topped with a medium tan head of good duration and which exhibits exemplary lacing. Nose is heavy on the vanilla, along with some sweet crystal malt, cocoa-heavy roasted malt, and some fruity and toffee notes bringing up the rear.

Sweet, rich, and a bit tangy from the get-go, this is a brew for those of you who really love vanilla, as in vanilla Cokes, vanilla-scented bath soap, and old fashioned vanilla ice cream! Thankfully, the sweetness is tempered by the bittering effect of the roasted malts, as well as a slightly tangy quality that doesn't quite make it all the way to the mid-palate. Notes of prune and a cherry-like tartness highlight the fruit notes and the toffee and lighter espresso notes are well enough pronounced as per the style. The bitterness and roasted malt quality linger nicely here, easily offsetting whatever initial fear you might have in thinking this one to be 'too sweet.' Mouthfeel is creamy but light, and body is just about perfect for a porter. Finishes fairly dry, and with good drinkability altogether.

A solid beer, but one I don't pick up nearly as often as I might, but then again I've never been a huge fan of flavorings in beer (or in my coffee, either ; )

[Served chilled in a bulb]

Photo of tapman
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a dark brown, so kinda light for the style, with a head consisting of giant, creamy bubbles accompanied by a sturdy lacing after the settling of the head.

Chocolate, ginger bread, almost a desert vanilla in the nose. Not much hop character, as that's to be expected, but the malts, which I'm guessing to be mainly darker crystal and chocolate with a hint of roasted barley tossed in for good measure. Also a small degree of alcohol that grows with warming. As this brew warms the vanilla gets a little bitter in the nose.

Very smooth flavor; the vanilla flavor is nicely mellow and permeates the taste up front and in the back. Up front it is sweet and compliments the caramel and chocolate essences garnered from the malts. In the back the vanilla has a moderately clinging taste that more resembles vanilla extract than candy vanilla. The alcohol in the taste adds to the vanilla extract taste and makes it a little more authentic, that is to say a taste I can recall and recognize which is pretty nice. I would have personally preferred less alcohol in this one, as the alcohol grows in intensity as it warms and gets a little obnoxious in the aftertaste towards the end, hurting the chances for session opportunities. Also hints of oak.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. Carbonation is robust. A little sticky in the finish however, which wears on me as I approach the end of the brew.

Overall an interesting selection. I love heavy stouts, but am only moderately interested in porters as they tend to be very bitter when brewers load them up with tons of chocolate or coffee or whatever. Not really a session beer for me, but something nice to sip on. Really warms you up, which I very much cared for on this cold Chicago night. Worth a try, definitely.

Photo of Minkybut
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this ber into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was really black with a nice tan head. The smell and taste were sweet with a chocolate hit for sure. For my taste a little too much sweet vanilla though it did smell reall good. I will not buy again though.

Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,717 ratings.