Mill Street Vanilla Porter - Mill Street Brew Pub

Not Rated.
Mill Street Vanilla PorterMill Street Vanilla Porter

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BA SCORE
79
okay

50 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 50
Hads: 165
rAvg: 3.43
pDev: 8.45%
Wants: 10
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mill Street Brew Pub visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Porter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Viggo on 12-12-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 50 | Hads: 165
Photo of thebhoy
1.89/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Rhino.

Appearance- As in another review, the colour is reminiscent of a vanilla bean brown, rich but not lacking in clarity. Expectations tended towards a lighter interpretation of porter

Smell- Not sure if this is more a comment on the pub than the beer, because one of them has made a mistake. Nice vanilla notes were overpowered by a metallic aroma, very offputting.

Taste- Sweet and Sour? Vanilla and sugars are certainly present, malts weren't pronounced but brought somewhat a balance to the syrupy vanilla flavour. All this again was overpowered by what tasted like old pennies (mate compared it to licking batteries), so much so that we requested a different beer, citing that the keg had clearly been contaminated. Staff argued that each keg they've had has tasted like this, so who were we to argue. There was also a strong sourness not unlike a lambic, this beer was not right.

Mouthfeel- Thin and cloying, tail of taste lingered on the palette like a vinegary wine.

Drinkability- Will give this another chance if I encounter it, but if this beer was right, it's definitely a huge blunder by the usually reliable mill street. (1,151 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
2.11/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got this one from Hopsolutely this past summer. Cheers guys!

From a 16oz can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour produces a 1 ½ finger, thicker looking, creamy, off-white head with excellent retention. Nice cascading effect from the nitro as well. Clear dark brown body with no bubbles at all. Head slowly fades to a thick cap. A film remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. Nice head and cascading effect, but a very light colored body, even for a porter.

SMELL: Vanilla, some milk chocolate and sweet cream, with light hints of roasted grain as well. Lots of vanilla. Vanilla bomb for sure.

TASTE: Again, heavy on the vanilla extract up front. Dried fruit and lightly roasted notes at the swallow, then a bold and lingering finish of vanilla extract, dried fruit, a bit of burnt malt and some leather flavors as well. Touches of chocolate bitterness under the vanilla and caramel sweetness, but this is all artificial vanilla extract all the time.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Not quite as creamy as expected for the style, unfortunately. Goes down fine and finishes a touch dry on the palate. A bit watery here.

OVERALL: Hate to say it, but this pretty bad. The vanilla tastes very artificial and the overall flavor is a touch too sweet to really be enjoyable. Wasn’t able to finish any more than half the can before I was forced to water the flowers a bit. This is unfortunate, as their Cobblestone Stout is so well done. Avoid this one in the future. Cheers again guys! (1,532 characters)

Photo of haharight
2.3/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Didn't know what to expect on trying this. I poured it into a glass and knew right off the bat it was going to be a love it or hate it situation. Colour was very dark brown blocking all light going through the glass, good foam and very strong but enjoyable smell.

One sip and I was overwhelmed with a taste of chocolate and vanilla. Not much beer here. Extremely sweet and too thick. I couldn't stomach it. Tried to take another sip and had to call it quits. Definitely has a niche market but I doubt a go-to drink for any beer lover. (535 characters)

Photo of FRANKIE65
2.49/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Looks great, nice head, decent lacing.
Smell, vanilla.
All downhill from there.
I love vanilla, but, this porter is so overpowering with vanilla it is almost non drinkable.
Waited to review this until I had it a second time. Won't be having it a third. (252 characters)

Photo of bendythumb
2.75/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Typical porter look with an absolutely perfect and long-lasting head. Weak lacing present, which tickles my fancy as I dislike strong lacing on darker brews for some irrational reason. This baby looks great in a glass. Aroma is somewhat pleasant. Vanilla and coffee tones are present, with an underlying yeast-like scent which slightly puts me off. Mouthfeel is much more watery than I expected for a beer of this colour and consistency. The taste is somewhat of a mixed bag for a palate as distinguished as mine. Lots of vanilla, coffee, and barley with slight wheat and chocolate notes. The can describes "an underlying tone of dried fruit" which I cannot taste. Unless yeast is a fruit, which it is not. Not much of an aftertaste besides a residual yeasty taste which disturbs me.

This brew looks excellent and tastes quite mediocre. Mill Street's Cobblestone Stout is a much more refined brew. I feel as though this brew would be excellent after a number of improvements. There are better porters for the money.

On a side note, I wish that this beer had some banana flavours. At first, I thought that the flower on the can was a banana, but on second glance I realized that I was wrong. I drank this porter wearing pyjamas, so I would have loved to have bananas in pyjamas. My dream was crushed upon drinking this brew. I did not take into account my fantasy in my review and rating of this brew. (1,403 characters)

Photo of bobsy
2.78/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub.

Comes to the table with a wonderfully cascading creamy off-white head. Huge sheets of lace, and an ever present nice cap round off a nice nitro appearance, which is only marred by the fact that the russet coloured body is off base for a porter. Sadly, while the nitro works wonders for the body, it kills the aroma. All I get is faint vanilla and chocolate malt.

The flavour is decent enough, but completely lacking the roast of a porter, and as its advertised as such, is a rare fail for Mill Street. There's certainly nice chocolate and vanilla notes that make this a pleasant drinker, but little else and certainly nothing in the character of a real porter. A porter on nitro is a bit strange anyway, but its does lend a smoothness to this beer that works well with the chocolate and vanilla flavours.

It was a pleasant drink, but if you come across it do not expect anything like the porter style. (927 characters)

Photo of NedShakeshaft
2.83/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Picked out two 500ml cans of this stuff at an LCBO. I won't say which LCBO, but it's much better known for its selection of deeply-chilled discount Ontario macros and mass-produced Euro-pilsners than it is for its craft brews.

When I arrived at the till, the clerk asked me if I'd tried it yet. I said I hadn't. She excitedly informed me that it was an amazing beer, but that it had to be served really cold. She recommended that I remove it from the fridge and put it in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes before serving. She then warned me about the dangers of leaving beer in the freezer too long. Had there not been a lineup I might have asked to hear the rest of that story.

I chilled the beer for significantly less than the recommended time, then slowly poured it into an imperial pint glass. It poured quicker than expected, but cascaded into a dark mahogany body with a soft, fluffy, half-inch beige head. Gorgeous.

For some reason I expected a dark-chocolate and vanilla nose, but it was more of a milk chocolate truffle. A bit of spice and dark syrup (black cherry?) lingered underneath.

Upon first sip, I immediately noticed the mouthfeel. It was very thin for a porter. I felt like I had to go digging for the malts. Chocolate syrup, roasted coffee beans. Not special and not enough malt character. Then came a wave of "flavour" that made me wish I'd heeded the red flags that were waved in my face at the LCBO. The vanilla tasted generic, artificial and added rather than integrated. Some caramel and dark fruit. A bit coppery as well.

Overall quite disappointing. Not enough malt character for a porter. It's almost as if they took their excellent Cobblestone Stout and threw some artificial flavour at it.

That second can may well be served as a dessert beer, and I just might take LCBO Lady up on her serving suggestion and give it the deep freeze first. (1,881 characters)

Photo of EvanHarper
2.84/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very dark red, on the light side for a porter, with 1.5 fingers of creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing. Strong vanilla smell with hints of toasted bread, toffee, and dark fruits. Taste is very light and sweet, with strong rich vanilla all over the place, a lot of caramel malt, disappointingly slight roast flavor and only a hint of chocolate on the finish. Steady background of hop bitterness throughout. Light, smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

I really love vanilla - favorite ice cream flavor and everything - but I'm afraid that the vanilla and caramel sweetness are rather overpowering here, and it doesn't quite come together for me as a porter. I'm glad I tried it and I wouldn't turn it down if offered but I doubt I would buy it more than once a year. Mind you it would be gorgeous for baking. (809 characters)

Photo of Mlkluther
2.9/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with lots of tan head that dissipates.

Nose has vanilla, coffee, malt.

Taste follows nose closely. However it feels and tastes light and more watery than I expected and had hoped. (200 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
2.9/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the brew pub, 9th July 2013.

Pours a dark red-brown colour. Definitely too pale for porter. Head is nice, dense ecru foam. Decent lace. Looks great, apart from the colour which is just wrong.

Smells tasty. Very sweet, with vanilla making itself very much felt, then giving way to caramelly malts and a touch of crême brulée. Wouldn't mind more roast or chocolate notes, but it's still a very enticing desserty smell.

Taste is quite watery upfront, I think yet another flow-on effect from insufficient dark malt for the style. Vanilla midway is quite nice, sweet with a touch of spice; cinnamon mostly. Finishes maybe slightly bitter with a touch of chocolate, which maybe demonstrates that there is malt, and maybe it's chocolate malt or slightly roasted, but not nearly enough.

Surprisingly decent body upfront, but gets thin very quickly. Not great.

Vanilla yes, porter definitely not. From the marketing around this pub it almost seems to me like they're afraid of putting people off with big-flavoured brews. I get that but this effort is just weak. No brewer should ever be afraid of making a proper dark beer. They can still be sweet, tasty and drinkable anyway. (1,189 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Mill Street. From the pour, this appeared to be nitro, so I have reviewed it as a nitro-tap.

A - Poured and settled like Guinness. Started out a murky medium brown coloured which cascaded from the top to the bottom and settled dark brown, almost black with only small amounts of light passing through on the edges.

S - Vanilla with subdued roasted malts in the background.

T - The vanilla is dominant and at times tastes very synthetic. Roasted malts are present in the background. A fairly simple beer and one dimensional beer.

M - Medium body and creamy. Light carbonation. (592 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.12/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On nitro at the brewpub.

At first I thought this was the wrong beer, as it pours a light reddish brown, very light, definitely not much of a porter colour, big and thick off white head forms, settles to a thick ring, good lace chunks on the glass.

Smell is very light, a bit of vanilla, some sweet maltiness, caramel, honey wafers, a touch of biscuit and grain, light nuttiness, some more vanilla, no porter character.

Taste is similar, quite sweet and malty up front, honey/caramel, nuts, wafers, some biscuit, bit of brown sugar, some sweet vanilla, no porter character.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, creamy and smooth. I have no idea who decided this was a porter. Zero porter character from the appearance down to the taste. Vanilla is alright but seems a little fake. Not too bad as a beer but as a porter this is shameful. (858 characters)

Photo of kjyost
3.13/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nitro pint served in branded glassware at SmoQue Shack in Ottawa, ON.

Clear dark brown beer with a thick nitro induced light tan head, a hint lighter than I had expected. Decent nose dominated by vanilla and not much else. The body is thin with no roast notes evident and the only flavour in play is vanilla. This may have been served a little cold but even as it warmed, no real other flavours came out. One-dimensional to a fault. (433 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
3.16/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the mixed winter 6 pack. Pours big and thick but the mouthfeel is underwhelming. The Vanilla is actually not a big detriment to the beer but rather a part of the flavour. I wanted a richer beer and the lack of a real mouthfeel let me down. Not as good as the cobblestone stout but drinkable, (296 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.26/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Picked up 440 ml nitro-can from LCBO for $2.90 CDN the other day. Served cold and straight into a pint glass. Working from notes taken a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance - Dark brown with garnet hues when held up to the light. Dark enough that you can't tell whether it's transparent or not, but I suspect it is. Creamy half finger of tan head that stays awhile.

Smell - Vanilla (obviously), dark fruit, chocolate. None of these aromas were terribly strong even as the beer warmed up a bit, which was not surprising in the case of the dark fruit and chocolate, but I expected the vanilla scents to be more robust. Nonetheless very tasty.

Taste - Vanilla hints, then into a malt based mixture. Light vanilla aftertaste. Not a whole lot else here.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth but watery, with lowish carbonation. Definitely not filling enough for my tastes to be considered a porter, but is quite quaffable.

Overall - Not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, but not one I'm overly impressed with. Expecting more vanilla, even though that was the focus of this one-dimensional beer, and definitely expecting more of a porter fullness than what was provided. (1,165 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at C'est What?, in Toronto.

Vanilla seems to have had at least as much influence on appearance as it has the other aspects: the beer is far from black, but rather an exact vanilla bean brown and even offers extensive clarity beyond all its lovely highlights. The quality of froth produced by the nitro-tap makes this look like a freshly-shaken milkshake. Dessert is now served!

My sweet-tooth and I have big expectations for a vanilla porter. The smells of hot-chocolate powder and vanilla - although far, far from decadent and, as anticipated, seemingly a little artificial - still remind of creme anglaise, which means we're off to a good start. (Mind you, I'd have liked some chocolate brownies or coffee to go with it!)

Turns out the aroma wasn't concealing any secrets: the beer really is just that simple and prosaic. And, for that matter, unimpressive. You'd think that a vanilla porter would have flavours that go on and on like a PBS fundraiser. But no. This tastes simply like one of those mass-produced cupcakes buried under a mound of fake icing you'd find at Wal-Mart.

And that might work, if only it had some supporting cast; cloying sweetness is less a product of the vanilla flavour than it is the lack of dark roast malts to stand in its way. This is a bit of a string-bean. The diluted taste and absence of said malts makes this difficult to take seriously as a porter and is really to the detriment of both its flavour and drinkability.

Vanilla is one of my favourite flavours for any sweet treat and I've yet to find a vanilla something or other that I can't at least tolerate with a smile. But I don't love it enough to overlook this beer's lack of maltiness and other flavours. Gimmicky or not, a porter requires more than just some artificial flavouring. Otherwise, it's not much of a porter at all. (1,838 characters)

Photo of mick303
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from can into craft pint. Dark brown on pour and near opaque in the glass with a thick creamy head, not massive but very dense, decent retention and lacing.

S - whiffs of estery vanilla, candy sugar, sweet vanilla/hazelnut coffee, some notes of dark malts but not a ton, creamy lactose notes are strong, toffee and vanilla sweetness predominate.

T - start is sweet with the toffee vanilla profile of the nose, mild roasty malt profile, mild hazelnut coffee notes. Generally balanced, bitterness is earthy/mildly spicy, but does a fair job of giving this a balanced profile on the palate. Finish has some more dry vanilla, dry biscuity malt and some light roasty porter aspects. I would prefer less sweetness I think, complexity comes in actually not too badly, just an overabundance of sweet french vanilla hazelnut latte types of notes, otherwise this does a fairly good job and would appeal to a wide segment of drinkers.

M - its creamy initially but also refreshingly carbonated. Good all round smooth body for sessionability as I think it was intended to be, it nonetheless feels like its trying to straddle an uncomfortable divide between being a dessert beer and a bitter porter, and I think that is my main issue with this beer in general, as well as the fact it is missing a lot of the best porter aspects to be a vanilla beer...

I think mill street is pretty established on the 'everymans craft beer' track and this fits with that mantra, too sweet initially while also trying to be sessionable and bitter, I did enjoy it though. The vanilla is especially pronounced in the aroma, the beer itself has a fairly muted porter profile, comparatively little roastiness IMO. It is all in all quite one dimensional with the vanilla, worth a try maybe, just dont expect too much. (1,792 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Can: Poured a nice light black color porter with a huge creamy light brown head with great retention and some excellent lacing. Aroma of vanilla is quite dominating with some good notes of bitter roasted malt notes. Taste is also dominated by loads of vanilla extract which ends up being a bit too over the top with light dry roasted malt notes. Body is light but has a nice creamy texture courtesy of the can widget. Well brewed but vanilla extract notes becomes over the top at some point. (491 characters)

Photo of Bunman3
3.44/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My second stop on a flavoured porter tour. Mill Street has got the nitro can thing down - this pours, looks, and feels like a Guinness. It looks great, smells like vanilla extract, and has a robust roasted malt backbone. The aroma is a bit too sweet for my liking, but it manages to complement the porter in an odd way. The mouthfeel is delightful, but the overall experience is a bit off. (390 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

440ml Can from the Ottawa LCBO for $2.90

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate syrup, vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate syrup, and vanila. There is also a bit of coffee and a graininess.

Overall - Tastes like I expected it to. Maybe a little thin and watery.. but a great scent. Not something I'd want to drink more than one can of, but a decent example of the style. (632 characters)

Photo of Jonathan33373
3.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I was expecting more carbonation, this beer seems to be a little flat for me. I am comparing it to of course one of my favorite drinks, vanilla coke, and so I was a little disappointed. I would not order another one of these, but it does the trick for the time being and I have had alot worst. It has a nice head to it, and pours smoothe. You can down it pretty easily but it doesn't really have a nice smell ( a little overwhelming.) In my opinion the BA score was a little high but I guess they have their reasons. (521 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

440 mL nitro-can picked up at the LCBO; dated Oct. 24 2013. Glad to see Mill Street making more stuff available in single cans. Cobblestone Stout is one of my favourite beers from this brewery, so I'm hoping that this one will live up to its more traditional cousin's standards. Served well-chilled.

Pours a lovely mahogany-brown colour, relatively clear and topped with one finger of beige-coloured head that soon settles into a 1 cm cap. Looks good to me, and I'm really digging the aroma too - vanilla extract is a component, but not the focus, with lots of roasted barley, milk chocolate and mocha to round things out. Suddenly I am in the mood for a milkshake.

Pretty yummy stuff. Vanilla is a little more pronounced here, but not to the point of obnoxiousness. Besides that, the first flavours that come through are plums, caramel and milk chocolate - sounds like a diabetic nightmare, but in all actuality it's not cloying right off the bat. These sweet features soon blend seamlessly into the roastiness of the malts, with a vaguely coffee-like feel toward the finish. The aftertaste is light in nature, but includes chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts, managing to linger on the palate for quite a while. Too long, actually. Medium-bodied and silky-smooth in the mouth; this one goes down easily, but it's the sort of brew I don't think I could handle more than a can or two of per night. The flavour is kind of relentless, and the one-dimensionality just becomes tiresome after a certain point.

Final Grade: 3.5, a serviceable B. Mill Street's Vanilla Porter is delicious at first, but becomes increasingly less interesting as you make your way through the glass. That gob of vanilla and milk chocolate that hits you with the first sip is really all this beer has going for it - after that, it just feels flat, limp and uninteresting. A decent dessert beer that I'd consider getting again, but Cobblestone is the superior product by a comfortable margin - both in terms of quality and adherence to style, as anyone looking for a serious porter is likely to be disappointed with this one. (2,103 characters)

Photo of Lunardr0ne
3.5/5  rDev +2%

440ml can from the LCBO.

A - dark brown, nice thick creamy foam

S - vanilla, milk chocolate, some roasted malt and a hint of coffee & molasses.

T - very close to the smell, roasted malts come trough a bit stronger and finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness. Vanilla flavor seems to fade somewhat as the beer warms up.

M - smooth, a bit too light for my liking. Leaves a tad dry and bitter aftertaste.

O - Decent dessert beer. Maybe a bit light to be great on it's own but combines nicely with rich desserts. (520 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

440ml can poured into tulip 10/11/13

A deep maroon cola like liquid, enough clarity to see a few tiny bubbles and light on the other side of the glass, cascading foam ends up as a thumbs width long lasting mocha foam that leaves lace deep down the glass, looks like nitro

S milk chocolate and lots of vanilla, doesn't smell real though almost to strong, some weedy leafy notes and coco powder with a little raisin

T the vanillas not as heavy, earthy hops, raisins still there, pretty basic but decent

M fairly thin and the bubbles flatten out quickly, coco and vanilla linger faintly

O all right brew but nothing special, nitro makes it look good but appearance is not all that important compared to other areas

not all that complex but drinkable, memorable? not so much (780 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear chestnut, a bit of a reddish hue, topped by dense tan foam. Good head retention, spotty lacing. Roasty aroma, slight vanilla, chocolate. Low bitterness, more chocolate and vanilla, light roast, brown sugar and cocoa. Medium bodied, low carbonation. Decent overall. I liked that the vanilla was more of an accent than an overpowering characteristic. (354 characters)

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Mill Street Vanilla Porter from Mill Street Brew Pub
79 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.