Tanilla Porter - Knee Deep Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tanilla PorterTanilla Porter

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59 Reviews
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Reviews: 59
Hads: 255
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 8.58%
Wants: 9
Gots: 33 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Knee Deep Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Beerandraiderfan on 04-20-2011

Made with only grade-A Tahitian vanilla beans, Tanilla carries a smooth chocolate flavor complemented by the delicate intensity of vanilla beans, and a rich aroma of coffee.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 255
Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a pleasant, deep red-brown, with a solid clarity. Body is firm enough, and the head is frothy and thick, although it doesn't retain particularly well, and there's only minimal lacing. Still, it looks pretty decent.

Nose is mildly grainy with a smooth vanilla undertone, but an unpleasant echo of tinny metal comes through as well. Vanilla is dominant as it warms, almost making it smell overly sweet. The vanilla's a nice touch overall, but it doesn't really blend with the other characters, mainly because no other character is robust enough to keep up.

Taste is rather thin, with a fake vanilla sweetness coming through the centre, before a harsh roasted, almost tobacco ash character comes through on the finish. It's no better as it warms—the body still feels thin, there's no sweetness to support the vanilla, and the bitterness on the finish adds a dollop of unpleasantness to top things off.

It's not terrible, but it should be better than this. It's way too thin, and there's not a depth or complexity to it. Moreover, what characters it does have don't gel together into a coherent whole, and some actively rebel against the flavour of the whole. Disappointing. (1,238 characters)

Photo of DM1293
4.17/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, as a porter, this is probably my favorite so far.

Very sweet, chocolate-y malt and vanilla (PROMINENT vanilla), with a bitter roasty finish. Thats it. Thats all it does and it does it pretty well.

So its a dessert-y kind of beer. And if thats what you're looking for, and you like chocolate and vanilla mixed together, this is worth a try. I'd get it again just for that purpose. (387 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber into a couple of glasses. Shared with friends during a recent gathering. The brew appears a dark brown with some lighter clarity of brown/ruby aroud the edges. A tan cap of froth and webby lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma of this is quite nutty with some hints of roasted chocolate grain. As it warms up, it focuses more on the roasted aspects. Some herbal character if hops are present keeping things in check. The smell is mildly of vanilla across the back.

The taste includes toasty and roasted grain. Just like the aroma hinted, it is quite nutty in flavor. A little bit of herbal hops come out that accents the bitterness of the grain. Relatively speaking, this brew is a little one-noted and lacking depth.

It is medium bodied with a mild alcohol inclusion and modest level of carbonation. It wasnt a bad brew by any stretch but it was pretty forgetable. Im glad I had the chance to try this but wouldnt go out of my way to try it again. (956 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Florida Beer Company tapered pint. No freshness date.

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that bears average retention time before dropping down to an 1/8 inch head. Frothy threads of lacing.

S- Sweet coffee nose with notes of caramel, vanilla, and cocoa.

T- Medium roasted malts with a sweet start and a chocolatey finish. Light in alcohol and bitterness. Hints of vanilla and toffee. Very smooth.

M- Slightly creamy with medium thickness. Medium carbonation and a relatively soft body for the style.

O- As far as taste and viscosity go, it's quite tame but effective. A good session porter. (629 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown back in body, crimson when held to a strong light. Nice tall tan head, fluffy with a number of fish eyes.

S: Roasted grains and bready notes at first. Vanilla and some spice notes. There is a floury bread note in there, as well as a touch of dark chocolate or possibly coffee.

T: Chocolate and vanilla, with a coffee and cream aftertaste. Something else in there, but I can't really put my finger on it.

M: Medium light in body. The carbonation feels a little strong for me. It finishes with a little bit of a carbonic bite.

O: Overall decent, but not phenomenal. The vanilla character is nice, but I don't think it does enough to pull the rest of the beer up. (681 characters)

Photo of hopsolutely
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark black with amber & burgundy highlights when held up to the light. Little white head, but a decent carbonation level and mouthfeel.

Sweet aromas of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Roasted malts underlie both the aroma and are the backbone of the flavour. The well balanced and complex taste is surprisingly dry, with a pleasantly lingering bitterness. Oak tannins and vanilla flavours linger in the finish well beyond the malt.

A very pleasant beer that I'd purchase again. (493 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right. So, let's have 22 ounces of beer. On to the beer:

The head has a soapy texture and has fair retention on top of this cola black colored beer. Spots of lace are left around the glass. Ruby red hues can be found towards the bottom of the glass. Now at first, the vanilla is tough to find, but it eventually comes out. Bitter roasted grain and hop resin comes out mostly.

It's a good thing there's vanilla to taste in this porter, otherwise we would be looking at a bitter, astringent beer. The vanilla is there to provide sweetness. As for the roasted malt and bitter as ash hops, I can say that I've had better flavor coming out of those ingredients in a porter. A tiny bit of molasses makes itself present. It's medium bodied, and features a drinkability that is alright.

Good in one area, (added flavor) flawed in another (base malt and hops). Not one I'm going to remember as awesome. (924 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep blackish sable with a decent light tan head. Smoky aroma has notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses and vanilla, fairly sweet but far from cloying. Mouth-filling flavor has a roast malt core and notes of burnt coffee, chocolate and vanilla plus a hint of molasses. It is not as sweet as the aroma, which is fine because I am not overly fond of sweet beers. Firm texture has little fizz, but leaves a decent finish. (425 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber for 3.49? I'll bite. Nice to see a beer that's not exorbitantly priced for no reason other than people will apparently pay it.

Tanilla pours jet black with a fluffy tan head that settles down slowly. Lacing is patchy and slippery. Looks like a standard porter.

Aroma is sweet and sugary with prominent vanilla. Lesser roast, black coffee, and bitter chocolate notes. Smells pretty nice, actually. The flavor is also good but not perhaps as nice as hoped after taking in the aroma. The elements are well balanced, certainly, with roast malt, vanilla both real and of the extract variety, a touch of coffee, and a bit of bitter hoppiness. There is a bit of an offputting alcohol flavor that seems derived more from the vanilla extract than anything else.

Medium body and carbonation, slightly sticky, with a finish that lingers a bit both sweetly and bitterly.

Not a top notch beer but pretty damn good. Apparently I liked this one a good deal more than the BA community as a whole.
And the price is hard to beat. If Southern Tier Creme Brulee is too sweet for you you may enjoy this as an alternative. (1,115 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark black color with a nice light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet with some dark roasted malts with some vanilla notes as well.

T- The taste has a lot more of the vanilla bean flavors that the aroma. Dark roasted malts with some sweetness and vanilla flavors make up the taste.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodies with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Not bad but not great either. Overall, it is a decent beer that is worth a try. (466 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
2.27/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

On tap at BJ's charm-free brewpub in Roseville, CA. Not real familiar with Knee Deep. But how can you fuck up with vanilla and beer, right? Well, unless you are one of the C-list breweries I've had who have fucked up vanilla porters.

Pours, well, brown. Not a real impressive porter brown. Cola thin. No head. Not a porter, more of a Mystery Strong Dark Ale.

Smell has some smoke and vanilla. Mostly vanilla. I mean, mostly smoke. Pleasant

I'll say this much for the vanilla flavor - it tastes less artificial than some other flawed vanilla beers I have. It tastes somewhat like the real thing. But there's too damn much of it. Coupled with the bitter astringency, not so hot.

Mouthfeel was a disaster. Thin, watery, zingy with carbonation. Terrible, terrible pop rocks on the tongue sensation.

Overall, very low, although there is room for improvement with better understanding of how to make a bigger dessert beer. While the taste could have been worse, I did not finish the beer, basically the public version of the drain pour. In answer to my rhetorical question "how can you fuck up with vanilla and beer?", the (rhetorical) answer is "let me count the ways". (1,169 characters)

Photo of amread4
2.57/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: very dark brown - close to black with a quickly dissipating tan head. The head did not stick to the glass as it faded.

S: smoke with a follow of malt. Imitation vanilla on the finish.

T: less smoke than the smell with a lot of vanilla. Very sweet vanilla taste that overwhelms the other flavors.

M: thin with a feel that is closer to a brown than a porter. Not chewy at all.

O: slightly below average, though this is not a style that I find particularly appealing. I think the beer would be better served with less vanilla and more focus on the malts and smoke flavor. Those were nice when they were able to cut through the vanilla. (639 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a sizable, ecru head that's slowly dwindling.

Smell: Toasted, chocolate-scented malts with a backdrop of roast and complimentary albeit demanded notes of vanilla beans that open up and stretch a bit more as it warms.

Taste: Toasted bread, bland, basic coffee, and sweet chocolate chips given a decent dose of vanilla beans. Faintly estery. Scantly earthy, herbal hops with a low bitterness. A dash of vanilla sugar on the tongue holds until the soft, malty finish for a nibble of Nilla wafers washed down with Coke Blak.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light (though still sufficiently smooth) body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Cheerfully drinkable. It carried across the promised flavor well enough for a beer with vanilla beans (and with natural flavor added). (867 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. Dark brown pour, thin layer of very light tan head.

Aroma, vanilla, toasted malt, light coffee with creamer.

Taste, wow, that's a lot of vanilla. Vanilla latte. Milk chocolate, faint malted milk ball. Mostly vanilla latte though.

Light side of mid bodied. It is sweet, but drinks pretty easy. You have to be ready for some vanilla though.
A bit too much for me, but a nice priced worth a try.
Kind if a Southern Tier Creme Brûlée light. (447 characters)

Photo of DocJitsu
3.96/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, nearly black with glints of red in bright light. Root beer head of a little north of an inch. Bouquet is meager--a little white chocolate and bourbon noted. Flavor is surprisingly bold that delivers a middle characterized by a sweet, white chocolate, vanilla, caramel. Finishes with a quickly disappearing coffee acidity. Creamy, pleasant mouthfeel. Fun beer. And at 6.3% ABV, you can have two. (406 characters)

Photo of DCon
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 1 PINT 6 FL OZ bottle of this from Broulin's Grocery in Driggs, ID for $7.99. Poured from the Tan/Grey Labeled bottle w/ "Aztec" designs on it into a 16oz Guinness Pint Glass. Has no freshness date on the bottle.

Aroma- Has a medium amount of coffee in the aroma with tons of roastiness. Not as rich as I would like but very clean and smooth on the nose.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger, bubbly head that dies quickly. Has the deepest brown colored body with decent clarity. Leaves only suds behind.

Flavor- A nice vanilla flavor hits the palate first and then light coffee comes into play with a ton of malts. Almost no hops are introduced into the flavor but more lager like. Has a light bitterness level at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves gentle coffee notes on the palate.

Overall Impression- Almost can give this brew a "4" across the board. A good example of the style and the light vanilla note was just enough to push it into my likes. Shared with GeoffTheAleMan and he appreciated it as well. Not too roasty or overpowering with malt. For those who aren't into the Stout style and need a nice, easy going porter, this ones for you! (1,207 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ultraman for this one. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Southampton oversize snifter.

Pours a thin layer of light mocha colored head with poor retention. Beer is a dark, near opaque brown. Lacing is stringy and thick with decent cling and thin legs. Average

Nose is moderately aromatic. Overwhelming amounts of sweet vanilla and cream. Clean but very singular.

Nutty. Caramel, vanilla, coca-cola and roasted malt towards the end. Again, very simple. Finish is slight toffee and roast. Odd but enjoyable.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down filmy. Finish is oily with a lingering aftertaste. A bit thin.

If someone were to make a vanilla coca-cola beer, this would be it. It's not exactly representative of the porter style though. A bit too sweet and a touch too thin. Still, I could see how some would appreciate it. (887 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is dark brown, nearing black, with a small tan head. The aroma brings some roast, vanilla, chocolate. Vanilla flavor is prominent, with some burnt roast and a subtle lactic presence. The body is thin, even a tad watery. Overall, pretty good. (250 characters)

Photo of DigBaseball
3.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was driving up to Lake Tahoe over Labor Day weekend last summer, and stopped off at a Raley's in Auburn to pick up lunch. I usually like to peruse the beer aisle when I'm in "foreign" grocery stores, hoping to snag a hard-to-find favorite, or otherwise something unfamiliar but enticing.

Browsing the unusually deep selection, I came upon a label I didn't recognize, and whose tribal designs recalled those printed on Peet's coffee cups. On closer inspection I discovered a style and manufacturer I'd never experienced. Examining the bottle further, I discovered it was "Brewed and Bottled for Knee Deep Beer Company by Beer4U, Belmont, California." This amused me, because I'd just moved from Belmont after living there the previous two years, but had no recollection of either company.

It was an snap decision to purchase the Tanilla Porter, but finding the right occasion to crack it open took significantly more discretion and patience. Typically, when I select a bottle with the intention of enjoying it solo, I opt for something a bit more conventional, a known quantity, avoiding my one-of-a-kind bottles in favor of something I can more easily replenish.

I had more or less decided to hang on to the Tanilla until I could share it as an after-dinner beer with friends. Unfortunately, I haven't had too many dinners with beer-drinking friends in the last few months. First, I was occupied with moving-related tasks, and then I was busy with rehearsals for a play that ran in November, and then before you knew it, The Holidays were upon us...

For various reasons, I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to stop buying beer for my home collection. Even though I decided this in December, I more or less forgot to stockpile "everyday" beers when I had the chance, and so I entered 2012 with precious few session beers on hand (mostly leftover bottles of Stella from a recent party). The other night, I was in the mood for a post-dinner tipple, decided what the hell, and poured myself a luscious mug of sweetly aromatic Tanilla.

I must confess that the tasting experience peaked just as (no, not before) the first sip of rich porter coated the insides of my mouth. It's not that I didn't like the Tanilla, don't misunderstand me. It's just that the inviting smell which drew my lips closer to the glass was in itself the ultimate reward after months of anticipation.

Now, perhaps I had built it up so much for myself that anything less than an instantaneous bufotenin surge would have come off as anticlimactic. Perhaps. All I know is that as soon as my taste buds registered the Tanilla's presence, I knew that the wait was over. Reality was upon me. It was, after all, just a fucking beer

As for getting into the specifics of mouthfeel, color, viscosity, and all that, I leave those details to other Beer Advocate reviewers, and will close by saying that this beer did not disappoint me. Far from it, actually. And if I learned anything from the experience, it's that I need to recruit a few friendly volunteers to help bring me back down to earth a little bit, and drink my beer with me in a more timely fashion, so I don't obsess too much about finding the perfect time to open this bottle or that one.

I wouldn't even mind reloading with a fresh bottle of Tanilla to share with friends -- in 2013, of course. (3,338 characters)

Photo of TheDudeRules
2.32/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Fairly dark pour. Light brown around the edges. Minimal head. Light ring of mocha remains on the outside of the glass. Smell is smokey sweet vanilla. Upon sip, the first thing that stands out is how thin this beer is. Like a brown ale. Taste is right in line with the nose. Nothing special to be honest. This beer is so sickeningly sweet with the crappy imitation vanilla taste. The smokey character doesn't mute any of it out. Also, I hate smoke in my beer. Gross. There is a possible hint of chocolate in here but it;s hard to get past all the other bunk. Pretty awful beer. (576 characters)

Photo of BeerManDan
2.68/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The color when poured was a thick dark brown with a reddish hue. The smell had roasted malts and a hint of caramel, but couldn't smell the vanilla. The flavor was a real dissapointment. Not a lot of flavor. The flavor was of roasted malts. with no hint of vanilla, in fact no hint of anything but roasted malts. Tanilla Porter was a big dissapointment! (352 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at churhill's sdbw

A dark brown close to black body with a tan head around the eedges.

S-very slight vanilla. Slight. Nothing else really

T-Lots of vanilla and not a whole bunch more. follows the nose but is lacking outside of the vanilla...

M- medium body and smooth

O-decent beer but needs more than the vanilla (325 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown, and nearly black, with ruby edges and a thin light brown head. Spots of lace and thin lines run down the glass.

Somewhat muted aroma, though what's here is very nice: mild roast, some bittersweet chocolate, and a small amount of vanilla. There just isn't a lot to smell here, unfortunately.

Nice combination of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and lots of sweet and earthy vanilla. This is a very nice, well-rounded, though sweet, incredibly drinkable vanilla porter.

Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation.

This is in an incredibly drinkable vanilla porter. I certainly wouldn't mind having another glass of this. (679 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Black and totally opaque with a mahogany color running wild in the glass. Awesome 1 inch head and great retention and some circular lacing

Smell: Vanilla and Chocolate

Taste: Upfront carries some roasted smokiness that I was not at all expecting and then the vanilla takes over and covers your whole palate. The vanilla in this beer is very nice

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation and the finish is a bit sticky

Overall: Good little beer definitely worth a try not sure why this beer is getting shit on so much (524 characters)

Photo of pitasoup
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours dark brown, close to black with a finger of tan/offwhite head.

S: vanilla bean, chocolate, roasted barley, a touch of smoke. vanilla is pretty dominant.

T: much like the smell, a bit of chocolate, coffee, and lots of vanilla. malty sweet, i'd say closer to a stout than porter, not that the distinction is significant.

M: thin, even for a porter. i'd enjoy a lot more heft to back up the vanilla and chocolate notes.

O: nothing exciting. I like vanilla in a dark beer and this delivered, but i wouldn't seek it out again. A brewing buddy commented, "this tastes like something I would make." Not exactly a glowing compliment. (642 characters)

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Tanilla Porter from Knee Deep Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.