Noche Dulce Vanilla Porter - Borderlands Brewing Co.

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Noche Dulce Vanilla PorterNoche Dulce Vanilla Porter

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40 Ratings
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Ratings: 40
Reviews: 5
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 14.09%
Wants: 2
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Borderlands Brewing Co. visit their website
Arizona, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 01-26-2012

One way to describe this beer is “a dark beer for people who don’t like dark beers.” Another way is “delicious.” Notes of cocoa, espresso, and delicately roasted barley blend nicely with real Mexican vanilla from Arizona Vanilla Company. This medium bodied, highly sippable beer is quickly becoming a local favorite.

15.5 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 5
Reviews by Phelps:
Photo of Phelps
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Noche Dulce is the brewery's "Moonlight Vanilla Porter," made with flaked oats as well as vanilla sourced from Mexico. Poured into a snifter, the brew is dead black and completely opaque but thin and topped with an inch of silky, cocoa-colored foam. The nose delivers, in order of the strength of each: fresh vanilla beans, cola, cocoa, and roasted grains.

Noche Dulce's flavor can be accurately described as Vanilla Dr. Pepper with a splash of milk chocolate. In the front, complex vanilla notes blend with oats and the sweetness of brown sugar, cocoa, and maple. It's a fairly saccharine combination, and the mere 15.5 IBUs contributed by the hops do little to counteract the beer's sugars. Subtle toast rises at the swallow, leaving clean, straightforward toast and cocoa notes lingering after the finish.

Breckenridge Brewery makes a vanilla porter that's all over the place in Phoenix and has become something of a standard for the style. This beats it. As an Arizona State University graduate, I've often been of the mind that we should give Tucson back to Mexico -- but Noche Dulce is a tasty and drinkable porter that just might be enough reason to keep it around.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Auraan
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brownish black with a thin tan head that dissipated to a ring of lacing. Not as nice looking as many porters, but passable. Scents of vanilla, sweet milk chocolate and faint roast malt. A very sweet aroma, not as roasted character as I like in a porter, but fitting a sweet porter. Flavor begins with a big hit of vanilla with notes of milk chocolate. Moves into more pronounced chocolate flavors, mostly semi-sweet chocolate, with a nice strong undertone of vanilla and some faint roast malt. Finish is bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and some roast malt. Aftertaste is roast malt, vanilla and bitter cocoa. A good porter flavor profile that leans towards the sweeter side of the style, but it is quite nice. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied, with low carbonation and a smooth feel. A good, classic porter style. Overall this is a nice porter, with a good aroma and vanilla character, with a nice hit of chocolate and some slight roast malt.

Photo of merryjoulton
4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my go-to brew at the Borderlands tasting nights on Friday nights, so I may be a little biased. This beer is served with a dark body and tinted ivory head that quickly fades to a ring at the edge of the glass. Nose is all sweet vanilla. Hints of baked goods bring good thoughts. Taste is sticky, sweet, and maybe a bit cloying... but in a good way. This tastes very thick and syrupy on the mouthfeel. Overall a superbly enjoyable beer.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour from the growler produces a thick, two to three finger thick, well browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite black in appearance. Huge, over-the-top aromas of vanilla leap out of my glass; so much that this beer smells sticky sweet. Subtle porter notes are till noticeable in the finish though contributing a nice toasted nuttiness, milk chocolate and perhaps a hint of sweet coffee liquor. The sweetness and vanilla aromas become increasingly dominant as the beer warms up.

The beer has quite a bit more body than I was expecting from the websites description, rich bodied, though not quite cloying, there is a definite viscous quality to the texture and it certainly has some heft to it as it slides across the palate. The vanilla is of course the dominant flavor here, expressively so, but the base beer comes through a touch more than it does in the aroma. Porter flavors of roasted, coffee-like, burnt brown sugar, roasted lactose and somewhat burnt milk chocolate are all fairly noticeable, though clearly in a supporting role. As the beer warms up the vanilla really starts to accentuate the sweetness, this beer even becomes a bit cloying; this is most definitely a dessert-type beer. There is perhaps a hint of tartness to this beer, this is likely contributed by the ample roast malt / grain that is mostly hidden by the dominating vanilla character.

This beer is nothing likes its commercial description:

“There’s a huge misnomer that dark beers are heavy and bitter, and Borderlands is out to change this perception with Noche Dulce. Noche Dulce is smooth and light”

While it certainly is not bitter, this is most definitely a sweet tasting, thick, dessert beer; I am actually quite glad about this, as I was a bit worried that a dry, light porter with ample vanilla just wouldn’t quite work. You definitely have to like vanilla to like this beer; it reminds me quite a bit of Southern Tier’s Crème Brulee, it is quite a bit of a smaller beer and this is most definitely a good thing as this beer manages to not be so over the top cloying and almost gross in its sweetness. One can actually drink a pint or two of this beer quite easily (at least if you like vanilla), and I am certainly enjoying this beer, even more than I thought I would. It might just be that this beer is actually more balanced at really cold temperatures; at least at temperatures I don’t usually prefer, I would almost suggest 40*F or cooler for this beer if you are after more of the base beer character. This is most definitely a “one” note beer, it has just enough supporting character to make it work, but this is all about the vanilla.

Photo of bennetj17
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a standard shaker glass, the pour doesn't allow for much of a head. The beer is almost jet black. Smell comes off as very toffee-like, not exactly vanilla, with little if any roastiness.

The taste is much like you would expect from the smell, with dominant toffee and vanilla notes. It's very smokey, almost like a charred, meaty flavor. The thing that's missing is the right balance of roasted malt character. The vanilla flavor comes off as sweet, but the beer itself really is not, and it's suprising that it could even be 7% ABV. I certainly don't taste the alcohol either. The mouthfeel has a decent fullness, but it's not really chewy or heavy. Decent carbonation.

Overall a bit of a one dimensional mess. The vanilla flavor is not subtle, and again it's more like toffee than pure vanilla. Despite the smoke character, the beer really needs that dry, roasty bitterness you expect in a porter to balance things out. I will say this was the most interesting of the three beers they had available, but they still have a long way to go.

Noche Dulce Vanilla Porter from Borderlands Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.