Mill Street Vanilla Porter - Mill Street Brew Pub

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Mill Street Vanilla PorterMill Street Vanilla Porter

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BA SCORE
79
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50 Reviews
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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 ppoitras
3.86/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" dense tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Nitro head froth lasts and lasts, with tons of coating lace. Aroma is sweet nougat.

Taste starts sweet, vanilla in the middle, and bitterness and vanilla through the close. Did I mention the vanilla? A bit overpowering and artificial-seeming for the vanilla, but still okay. Mouthfeel is nitro smooth, and drinkability is good. Pretty good brew. (542 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown/blood red color with a foamy off-white head that lasts a good while. The smell is sweet, aromatic vanilla with some malt roastyness faintly in the back. The taste is sweet like a Milk Stout but not cloying. Lots of vanilla extract mix with caramel, chocolate malts and a ligt roastyness. Hops are very restrained throughout - only providing bitterness. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a creamy, full carbonation. Light bitterness and vanilla linger in the medium lengthed finish.

A nice Porter from Mill Street. Lots of sweet flavors but not overly sweet. Vanilla is out front obviously, but not as much as I expected. Worth a try. (649 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 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 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 leaddog
3.91/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

440ml nitro- can.

Appearance- Pours a dark chestnut brown with a finger of creamy beige head.

Smell- pure vanilla, chocolate, light roasted malts, and dark fruit (plum or cherry).

Taste- Vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts and a bit of the dark fruit. The vanilla and roasted malts are the more predominate flavours.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with light carbonation. Has a smooth creaminess but a tad thin.

Overall- An English porter that uses pure vanilla extract in a way that it remains balanced with roasted malts without overpowering. Delicious flavour that can be sipped on all night long. (598 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 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 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 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 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 biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An imperial pint at The Underground in YEGDT.

This beer appears a somewhat hazy, very dark brassy amber hue, with one stolid finger of oh so fine creamy beige head, which leaves a peaks and valleys vista of thick painted lace around the glass as it glacially recedes.

It smells rather strongly of sweet vanilla, candied fruit, an obscured charred caramel malt, some softly astringent woodiness, a bit of wintertime Halls lozenges, and tame earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more vanilla, though much less sweet than on the nose, a sugary caramel maltiness, a touch of thin smoke, waning notes of menthol, mildly soused orchard fruit, and earthy, floral hops.

The bubbles are obviously high on nitrogen, so, small and barely tingly, the body an adequate medium weight, and quite ably smooth, the creaminess present, but in a laid back manner. It finishes on the sweet side, the vanilla and fruit notes still rather prevalent, as the woody, leafy players fade to black.

Definitely more vanilla than porter, if going strictly by the name, as the base dark beer attributes get passed over to a large degree. There are smoke and sour-ish essences, to be fair, but they provide more of a understated support role. Worth a try, but I'm not certain that my palate, and sweet tooth, could take another dose of this. (1,317 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 hopsolutely
3.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes after enjoying on tap in Guelph yesterday. Remember thoroughly enjoying a creaminess and fundamental vanilla flavour in last year's batch that has modified to a more oak-focused palate this year.

Bright, clear mahogany coloured beer with brilliant white head. Thinner mouthfeel than I expected. Aroma of roasted malts and barrel tannins, with underlying peat and smokiness. The vanilla is more prevalent in the taste than the aroma, but more subtle than I remember.

An enjoyable pint and I'll buy it again, but my socks remained firmly on. (552 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.03/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half pint at Mill Street Ottawa. From notes.

A - Poured amber, bright, with a one finger creamy head leaving great thick lace and a half finger of retention. Virtually black colour.

S - Vanilla was very strong. Some smokey notes and roasted malts as well. Very nice.

T - Vanilla, nice sweet malt, chocolate, roastiness.

M - Very creamy, medium body, gentle carbonation.

O/D - A very tasty vanilla porter. Very nice with strong flavours and very smooth. A pleasure. (469 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 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 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 kwjd
3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on nitro-tap at C'est What. Pours a really dark brown colour with a finger of thick white head. Smells of vanilla and chocolate with some mild roast, almost like a milkshake. Very sweet, almost no bitterness. Mouthfeel is incredibly creamy. Easy to drink porter, but I wouldn't want to drink more than one of these in a row due to the sweetness. (354 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Kickoff in Waterloo. From the same tap as was previously occupied by their Cobblestone stout, so I'm assuming this is a nitro pour. (It settled like one anyways)

Poured into a Mill Street standard glass. Deep brown, nearly black but with some caramel round the edges. Thick, creamy head, loads of sheeted lacing. Great retention, no surprise there. Looks a lot like Cobblestone.

Nose is subtle: caramel, chocolate, a touch of vanilla, toasted malt.

I was expecting the worst, as I've had "vanilla" beer before that tasted a great deal like a few gallons of vanilla extract were thrown into the mix, but this one was fairly good. A fine beer to usher in the holiday season. Vanilla flavor is present, but subtle enough not to be cloying. Chocolate and hazelnut creep in as the brew is allowed to warm. Nothing really "porter" about this beer, but it certainly is tasty. Sweet, but enjoyable.

Medium body, perhaps a bit watery, but with a wonderful creamy texture that I'm really digging.

Mill Street is hit-or-miss for me; this one was a hit, but not something I can drink too much of. Even though the vanilla/chocolate flavor was mercifully subdued, the brew lacked a roasted porter character to combat the sweetness. Had there been more porter characteristics here, Mill Street Vanilla Porter would have been a first-rate brew. As it stands, it is still a good brew, and a tasty one to enjoy right before the holidays. (1,435 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
3.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Chancey Smith's. Deep coffee like pour with ruby hues at the edges of the glass. Has a frothy mocha cap. Nose of intense vanilla extract, roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate too, but the vanilla is powerful here. Tastes of sweet concentrated vanilla, some hoppy bitter roastiness, dark chocolate, a bit of mint. Wow, there is a lot of vanilla here. Finish is creamy, medium bodied, leaving a lengthy vanilla finish. Quite good, but one pint is enough thank you very much! (482 characters)

Photo of GodOfBeer
3.87/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Chancey Smith's.

Pours a dark brown with a thin off white head, some lacing.

Smells of vanilla and chocolate, coffee, roasted barley, sort of like a fresh cappuccino.

I was very surprised by the taste, a lot more vanilla than I would of expected but still very good and different. Not as porter-like as I wish it was but still very good, very refreshing.

A deliciously drinkable beer upfront but slowly it grows on you and near the end you find it hard to finish. I think they added too much vanilla here, if there was less of that and more of the porter this would be almost perfect. (599 characters)

Photo of cratez
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Chancey Smith's. Based on other reviews, I didn't expect much from this beer. But it's actually quite flavourful.

Chestnut brown in colour with ruby highlights and a ring of cream coloured head. Sheets of lacing down the shaker. Smell and taste are cocoa, vanilla, chocolate malt, substantial sweetness, some nutty bread, with a hint of roasted dryness in the finish. The vanilla extract and chocolate malt produce a white chocolate flavour that I've never picked up in a beer before. Simple but delicious. Thin mouthfeel, light-bodied, moderate carbonation, mild chalkiness to end.

MSVP does not have the features of a traditional porter (smoke, hops, lots of roast, medium/full body) but it's still a very tasty dark beer. Worth a try IMO, even if doesn't adhere to the style. (790 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 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)

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