Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Vanilla Porter - Rohrbach Brewing Company (Brewpub)

Not Rated.
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

30 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 30
Hads: 85
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 2
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rohrbach Brewing Company (Brewpub) visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sammy on 08-31-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 30 | Hads: 85
Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap recently at Rohrbachs and reviewing from notes. This year's batch is IMO far superior to last year's. Poured very dark brown, nearly black with ruby hues in the light. Tan head retained well and laced down the pint glass. Rich malty sweetness, cream, and a touch of vanilla. Taste follows suit. Incredibly smooth and mildly carbonated. Silky and highly sessionable.

I think it's better than last year's because the vanilla is far more subtle this time. It allows the roasted malt flavors to round it out a bit. Another well done brew by Rohrbachs. (565 characters)

Photo of generallee
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from tap and served in a pint glass at the Rohrbach brewpub.

Appearance: The body has a dark brown, almost black color with a small one finger tan head. The head hangs on well and makes some lacing on the glass as I drink.

Smell: In the nose I pick up a nice roasty, toasty character with a pleasant whiff of vanilla.

Taste/Palate: On the tongue I pick up the roasted sweetness and toasted semi-bitterness from the malt. There are hints of toasted bread, dark chocolate and coffee with a nice level of sweet vanilla creaminess running through the center. The hops are not much of a noticeable factor but do held with balancing the malt sweetness. The palate is smooth but well carbonated with a solid medium feel.

Notes: To me vanilla can be a dangerous thing in a beer. If it's not done right it can come of as tasting like Vanilla Coke. This beer is done right. It still has enough bitterness and body to remind you that you are drinking a beer. Well Done Rohrbach!!! (1,006 characters)

Photo of yesyouam
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rohrbach Vanilla Porter is a cola colored ale with a small beige head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. It has a dark roast coffee aroma with a note of chocolate. It is thick and creamy, pretty full bodied and smooth with a clean finish. The flavor has notes of vanilla creme, strawberry and chocolate. It's fruity, slightly sweet, milky and roasty. It's full flavored with a pretty clean finish. The flavor of roasted coffee lingers.
(rated Nov 28, 2008) (459 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pour from our growler gives us a dark brown brew with a quickly departing one finger high tan head. It is near complete opacity, but some light does shine through towards the bottom of the glass. Little lacing appears throughout the session. As the name suggests, the aroma houses light roasted malts and sweet vanilla. There are also faint notes of coffee beans and hops. The taste takes off with a bitter front, reminiscent of black coffee. This folds to a middle that is highlighted by phenols, malts, and the start to a strong vanilla flavoring. The latter brings us into the aftertaste which is sweet, leaving the mouth cooled. The mouthfeel is otherwise moderately creamy and carbonated. Drinkability remains high, and the medium body and sweeter characteristics keep you going back for more.

Overall, our favorite thing about this brew is the smooth taste. Even through to the aftertaste, the flavors carry the beer, making you want to continually replenish the sip that just departed with another fresh one. (1,018 characters)

Photo of LTS
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've discussed the vanilla porter with the guys at Rohrbachs and it has become clear that there was a bad batch that circulated Rochester at somepoint over the winter.

My first experience was a growler purchase from Beers of the World. The vanilla flavor was so harsh I could not finish even one beer. I thought at that point I was doomed.

Later I ventured into Rohrbachs to sample it from the source. I figured I could also discuss the hellish growler I had. Well, much to my surprise when they first poured me the pint I swore up and down it was the wrong beer.

The vanilla porter I had at Rohrbachs (and had, and had, and had) was absolutely fantastic. The vanilla flavor is very subtle. The smell from the pint indicated a faint vanilla flavor as well.

The head was beautiful and thick and stuck around for quite some time as I drained pint after pint.

The appearance was nothing special, in reality once you get that dark you aren't going to get much difference. I gave it a lower score on drinkability because after awhile the vanilla flavor does creep up on you. Three pints in a night would be pushing it. After the third pint I swore I had had enough vanilla to last a lifetime, but a few days later I went back for more. (1,246 characters)

Photo of Black7Blue
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice black color. Not too heavy, classic porter feel.

S - The Vanilla tones come righ out from the pour. Good stuff right there.

T- The porter comes over the vanilla, but the vanilla leaves the aftertaste.

M - feels good in the mouth. I liked the light taste of the porter

D - It's a great beer to taste of have with a meal in the winter. Not an all night beer, but good for a growler.

*On a personal note, this was the first beer that I got in my growler (a limited Rochester Red Wings Rohrbach growler). She's a great friend of mine and this porter is greatly missed by her. (586 characters)

Photo of sliverX
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poors a very dark brown/black, thin mocha head that turns to film with most bubbles around the rim of the glass
Smell is faint coffee, vanilla, maple syrup
taste is of coffee, heavily of vanilla, with a hint of maple in the finish
mouthfeel is medium but is very clean and crisp in the mouth perfect carbonation
so very drinkable, lovely porter may just have to drink the whole 1/2 gallon growler (396 characters)

Photo of mrdalton
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark as night with a beautiful tan head.

S- I have a very hard time smelling anything unfortunately.

T- This beer starts out very bitter to me. With the first sip I get a lot roasted dark chocolate and vanilla flavor. The vanilla pretty much overpowers. But then it finishes with a creamy vanilla smoothness that I liken to french vanilla ice cream.

M/D- Great, heavy, creamy feel in the mouth, good beer to enjoy with food and to sip slowly.

Have had this in growlers from Beers of the World, and on tap at the Railroad St. location. I truly enjoy this beer either way. (579 characters)

Photo of pandashaver
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a opaque dark brown/black with tan/off-white head. Head was not large (may be due to very cold serving temp), but however faded quickly which was a little disappointing but still left some lacing.

S - Vanilla scent atop the roasted malt. Very enticing.

T - Lots of vanilla comes through, along with the classic roasty and bitter porter taste. It's also a bit watery, but this lends to some added drinkability which is a nice change.

M - Very thin and watery initially, but some syrupy thickening afterward. Nice bitter, but not too bitter aftertaste with vanilla leaves me wanting more.

D - Very easy to drink, with or without a meal of any size. Definitely a plus in a flavorful local porter. (707 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Steve for hauling this growler back from the brewery for a taste. Served at just over fridge temperature in a pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a medium brown with a light tan head.

Smell- Aromas of coffee and vaniila, more of that than the roasted character you might expect from a porter. Very, very nice... the sweetness is really enticing.

Taste- Roasted coffee with vanilla undertones. Exquisitely balanced with regard to malt and hops, it's a great porter by all accounts.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Foaming and active, certainly exciting on the palate. Delicious, and a treat from Rohrbach. (605 characters)

Photo of jrnold
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very dark almost black. Dark tan head a little less than a finger width which dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: Strong vanilla and chocolate with hints of coffee.

Taste: Vanilla with some of the roast malt on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery, but the carbonation is very crisp.

Drinkability: Overall, I liked the beer. The vanilla is a little strong, but it makes for a very tasty drink. (422 characters)

Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a hearty dinner at the Rochester Dinosaur BBQ, I was in the mood for desert.

Served in a standard shaker pint, the beer is black with brown highlights

Nose of brown sugar vanilla and roasted grains. It is inviting and not artificial smelling.

Taste tracks the smell. Sweet with vanilla notes, roasted malts, a bit of brown sugar and a hint of smoke.

The mouth is an enjoyable and smooth. Easy drinker, I had 2 after dinner. My 2nd good beer from this brewer and I must say, Well Done! (496 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

whoa baby, this is cool beer. nice to see it in a can, i had no idea these guys did this. this is such a silky porter, a delicious base beer thats exactly what it should be, and the vanilla is genuine and rather forward, but the beer isnt the least bit sweet, which makes it the kind of porter i can drink a ton of. my dad thought this was the perfect after dinner drink, but i see it with all day and all year applicability. chocolate brown in color, plenty of body, creamy mouthfeel, and a lasting roasty barley and fresh vanilla bean flavor in the finish. the dark malts have a bit of bitterness to them that give the vanilla a unique launch point, and the result is fantastic. if i lived in ny and could get my hands on this, it would probably be in my fridge for the rest of winter. easily the best vanilla porter i have had this season, maybe even longer than that. very well done, my favorite of the three beers i had from them in a recent session. (955 characters)

Photo of wiseguy142
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near balck with a creamy mocha head- the perfect size and lacing as it starts to die down. Can't really ask for much more.

Moderate aroma of vanilla and milk chocolate. Like some sort of ice cream sundae.

Taste is very dry up front but vanilla dominates for most of the rest of the flavor. Slightly papery, followed by a short burst of chocolate malt. Keeps the dry, roasted aspect of a good porter down without diving into stout territory. Seems like they've toned the vanilla down a bit too from previous batches.

I think this porter and vanilla were made for each other. Especially with a growler of this sitting next to me, every sip I take makes me want more. (674 characters)

Photo of GOBLIN
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A beautifully well done porter . . . Vanilla up front, coffee in the end and all the roasty flavors you'd expect in between. A tad thin as far as feel is concerned for my liking but still solid none the less. And don't forget the aroma. With scents of vanilla and hints of maple syrup it's hard not to keep from constantly bringing the glass to your nose just before taking a good swallow. Really enjoyable offering here. (421 characters)

Photo of dem
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the growler with a medium tan head and lacing that fades quickly. Starts with a nice vanilla aroma, and very subtle vanilla taste. Vanilla fades away quickly as classic porter taste takes over. After a while, chocolate taste is revealed as beer warms. Hints of coffee behind the chocolate malt sweetness. A solid drinkable porter. (341 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Growler brought over by Matt on Saturday.

Pours a deep, dark inky black, with a 3/4 inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells quite vanilla-y, with a bit of chocolate, but not enough roasted malt for my senses.

This is quite understandably vanilla forward, creamy and rich tasting, with a little bit of dark chocolate, and not really any roasted malt. If there was that roasty flavor to complement the sweet flavors, this would be much better.

This one has a very creamy mouthfeel, and a lower amount of carbonation. It's medium bodied, and pretty drinkable.

This is probably Rohrbach's best beer, they've never been my favorite brewery, but this one is a Rochester classic. (683 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served on-tap into a standard pint glass at Rodney's bar and restaurant.

almost black, actually a dark ruby brown color with a very nice looking super creamy light tan head. some nice retention and nice thick lacing at first.

vanilla definatly leads the pack in the aroma, creamy vanilla, a touch artificial. just hints of light roast and cocoa noticable in the back.

again, a nice creamy vanilla at the front, just a little artificial tasting at times, but still tasty. milky chocolate and light roast. kind of an odd estery winey finish at times.

light to medium in body, over carbonated, and a bit too thin feeling. still a nice creamy feel.

overall, not a bad attempt, a little too weak and one dimensional, but id drink this again if offered, wouldnt pay for it again however. (786 characters)

Photo of Shoehornhands
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This is my first review and I'm not really into the fancy write ups.

Picked this up in a Grolwer from Wegman's. Pour it into a pint glass. Very dark and black, little tan head (might be my crappy pour) that went down to lacing.

Smell is all vanilla to me. As others have said, it is lighter in the mouth than I'd expect from a porter. Roasted taste with a bitter finish, with hints of vanilla. I'm a bit surprised it isn't more vanilla-y. Nice carbonation.

I like it, maybe I tried it a bit too cold. Would give it another try. (530 characters)

Photo of Hermanater77
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was first introduced to the Rohrbach Brewery with a nice tall glass of their Vanilla Porter poured from a growler. Instant thrill for me as I was not expecting this to taste as good as it did. Not to mention, it is extremely easy to drink and goes down quicker than you can pour it. In all seriousness however, you would be wise to pick up a growler from the shelf to try. As is with all growlers, you will want to drink the entirety of the bottle within a few days (or best, within the day) because it will lose its carbonation and a little bit of glory if it sits in the fridge for too long, especially if it has been opened.
After being poured it doesn't look like a terribly special beer, and the smell doesn't leave much to the imagination, but you will be pleasantly surprised when you take your first sip, because this beer has a great, simple, smooth taste. It certainly doesn't taste or drink like water, but there is a nice drinkable quality to it. The Vanilla Porter is restrained, yet unique and for the price and convenience of a growler, definitely good value.

If it were up to me, I'd get it often, but as is with most local breweries, it is not available where I go to college. Fortunately, I can always enjoy the Vanilla Porter and all of the other Rohrbach's growlers (including Red Wing Ale) with old friends and family. Give it a whirl. (1,359 characters)

Photo of kbnooshay
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Chili's. Came to me with a quickly dissolving tan head. Body was super dark. Aroma was sweet and malty. This tastes like a chocolate milkshake with a nice hint of vanilla. Hints of chocolate/vanilla swirl cake. This is so dessert like that it barely tastes like a beer. There is some roasted malt flavor but the vanilla really dominates. Feel is smooth, but moderate to light. There is a coke like carbonation. This is easy to drink a lot of despite its darkness. (482 characters)

Photo of papaglide
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a growler into a shaker glass.

A- awesome root beer color: dark mohogany with a nice quarter inch lace. Lace falls down quickly. Looks like it has low carbonation.

S- sweet roast with a hint of vanilla. No hop nose distinguishable.

T- sweetish, buttery, roasted coffee. Touch of vanilla. Not as hoppy as some porters are. Somewhat astringent but not annoyingly so. Finishes quite dry.

M- thin and with low carbonation.

O- My first Rohrbach sampling and I enjoyed the hell out of it. To me, this beer cries out drinkability. Its not a hoppy porter. It's a session porter with enough roastiness and hop dryness to fit the bill. Overall, it is a very drinkable and refreshing beer with just enough qualities to hit the spot when a porter is what I am looking for. (780 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 pint can.

A: [3.75] Pours jet black. There is a full 2 finger head. The head is dense and off white. There is some decent lacing on the glass. The can has no listed ABV. There is a date code that I cannot discern.

S: [3.50] I get charred wood and Smoked meat scents.

T: [3.75] The taste is not the same as the nose. It leads with a nice charred wood flavor from the roasted malts. There is a slight bitter elevation in the middle and the finish is a nice vanilla flavor.

M: [3.00] This is fairly watery. The vanilla, on the finish, is long and that helps with the overall mouthfeel.

O: [3.50] I wish this listed an ABV (my geuss is 5.5%) and a date that would improve the Appearance score. The nose is decent and the flavor is actually quite nice. I would drink this again, especially since it is a local brew. (841 characters)

Photo of fightingirishcmk
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Had to wait a bit while they changed kegs, so this was the first glass from the new one. 2 fingered head that dissipated rather slowly. The color was a deep ruby brown. Lacing was light on the glass.

S: Vanilla and roasted malts. There is no denying that this is a vanilla flavored beer. Almost too much vanilla!

T: Overwhelming vanilla. This is a dessert beer, without a doubt. The caramel and chocolate malts were also there. After swallowing, you get a similar taste in your mouth after you eat vanilla ice cream. Not bad, but not completely balanced. Was this real vanilla bean they used? Makes me wonder...

M: Great mouthfeel, overall. It was very smooth and sat in my mouth well.

D: As much as this was a dessert beer, vanilla is one of my favorite flavors. I would most likely have this again. (808 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

OK, this is a porter, unlike their regular porter which is a stout. Vanilla extract thrown in a good dose. Just too vanilla aroma and taste. It kept the palate a bit more active but still on thin side. Well carbonated and sugar in the vanilla extract. (251 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Vanilla Porter from Rohrbach Brewing Company (Brewpub)
85 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.