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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla - Red Brick Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla

Educational use only; do not reuse.

81 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 194
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 24.44%
Wants: 15
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Red Brick Brewing Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AdamBear on 09-21-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 194
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 2 inch foamy beige head that settles to a thin film. Thin broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt first and foremost. Maybe some slight vanilla and bourbon aromas if you smell very hard. Taste is of smoked malt, chili chocolate, and slight vanilla and bourbon flavors. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good smoked porter but the vanilla and bourbon that is supposed to be in this beer is very hidden in both the smell and taste.

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Photo of largadeer
1.77/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Extra from jpmclaug. Thanks!

I'm greeted by a blast of vanilla as soon as I uncap the bottle. Pours a muddy auburn color, but rests in the glass an opaque dark brown capped by a thin but lasting head. Smoke is much more dominant on the nose once this is in the glass, but there's an element of sweet vanilla along with an undercurrent of tart dark fruit and roasted malt. The palate is all over the place, with clashing flavors of smoke, acidic dark fruit, lactic sourness, vanilla and charred malt. I can't imagine that this was intentionally soured, and boy does the sourness not work here. The body is pretty thin, and the finish is more sour than roasty. This may have been an interesting beer prior to infection, but it's hard to tell.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black as night as it pours out. A big cascading brown head comes up and over the top and then settles down into a half inch layer that hung around for the entire rest of the session. The aroma was vanilla, huge vanilla beer and light cafe like coffee notes. Some hints of roasted malts, but vanilla in a beer like I have never come across before. Not terribly sweet and fake, this was like whiffing good vanilla ice cream. As I take the first sip, wow. This beer is suprising the crap out of me. First off where is my 12 percent? This is soo smooth I really got caught off guard by my second glass. The vanilla explosion followed through on the taste, rich and creamy with light and sweet coffee notes following through on them as well.

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Photo of nickfl
2.04/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours with one finger of tan foam on top of a dark brown body with dark amber highlights showing through. The head settles rapidly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Molasses, smoke, and caramel.

T - Sweet, and slightly sour caramel up front with a bit of molasses. Smoke and black cherry notes in the middle with a disconcerting band aid note. Finishes with more sour fruit and unpleasant phenolics.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Wow, this is flat out awful. The smoke and vanilla come together to create a beer that tastes like rootbeer with bandaids floating in it. I couldn't pour this one down the drain fast enough.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a medium-sized, light beige head.

Smell: A sooty smokiness certainly leads the pack, followed by sweet-scented chocolate, sugar-dosed coffee, and some dark fruits, the vanilla bean pods, as well as the barrel treatment coming in dead last (but, better last than never, right?).

Taste: Sweetish malts, some semi-sweet chocolate, roast-accented coffee, and the expected vanilla, but, unless the previous iteration, with a noted chimney smokiness. Light bourbon character, no more, with caramelized sugar creme brulee tops. Sweetish, smoky finish with that barrel character trying to emerge, even at the last second, but not quite getting there.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Develops a smoothness as the carbonation dies away.

Overall: Sweetish, mellow, and smelling, at times, of smoke. A bit like myself, really.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Thanks to Lillie1128 for this bottle!

"Vanilla Gorilla, gorilla for sale..." C'mon, I can't be the only one who thought of that song when introduced to this beer, right? Regardless, it pours a vaguely translucent dark sienna (highlighted in dark ruby) topped by a finger of dirty tan foam. The nose comprises smoked ham, light oak, light roasted malts, light chocolate powder, mild whiskey, light chipotle pepper (or, at least, it seems like some, anyway), and molasses. Tasty. Speaking of which, the taste brings in more of the same, with the roast, whiskey, oak, and chocolate taking center stage. The vanilla doesn't come through very much, though I do think I get a bit of the bean in the background (and off to the left). The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a damn fine brew all-around. Good times, indeed.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't been totally thrilled with the Red Brick beers I have had so far, but this is bucking the trend.

This is a nice porter. Vanilla accents mesh well with the overall robust porter tones. Pretty good bit of hoppy spice tones in there as well.

I dig this beer. It's not the typical porter. It gives a whole lot more to think about and enjoy.

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Photo of chinchill
3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, undated.

A nearly black, clear liquid, topped by a moderate tan head.

Smoke, whiskey, oak and dark malt in the nose. There's a hint of vanilla in both the nose and the mouth, and it lingers into the aftertaste. A hint of hops in the flavor too, but the major change is from the very sweet aroma to a slightly sour taste.

O: too smokey and poorly balanced for my taste.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 02/23/12 notes. Received this in the Birthday BIF from jyounger30; thanks Jay! This sounds really cool. I've only had one beer from Red Brick and I liked it quite a bit, so excited to try this one. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Brawley's snifter.

a - Pours a dark black color with an inch of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head only lasts for a few seconds and leaves some very light lacing on the glass. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits and smokey malts up front. Surprising how much dark fruit is in the nose. As it warms up I'm getting some roasted malts, chocolate, and light oak/wood. Not really getting any vanilla or bourbon at all which is a bit disappointing.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, smoked malts, roasted malts, lightly sour dark fruits/cherries, oak/wood, and some toasted malts. As it warms up the tiniest bit of cream/vanilla, but almost none. Again, no whiskey.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty
easy to drink.

o - Overall an interesting and above average smoked porter. The nose and taste are both dominated by dark fruits and smokey malts, and neither has any bourbon. The nose really had no vanilla and the taste had a tiny bit. Was also surprised by the lightly sour cherries and dark fruits in the taste. Looking at other reviews it sounds like other people noticed this too, so don't think it's an off bottle. Still an enjoyable beer but a little disappointing after reading the label. Worth checking out if you can pick it up cheaply.

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Photo of stakem
2.92/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. The brew appears brown in color with some clarity around the edges. A finger of tan head rests atop and produces some spotty lacing as the cap fades. A light swirl revitalizes more than a finger effortlessly back to the surface.

The aroma is smoked like beefy bacon alongside an awkward amount of alcohol tang. There is a fruity aspect present that is not all that inviting along eith an earthen to rocky/mineral feel.

The taste is quite tangy like whiskey mixed with chocolate. Some earthen flavors mingle with the beefy smoked aspect. There is quite an abundance of mineral flavoring into the aftertaste that is not that enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The whiskey reinforced tang is interesting but not that good. If that wasnt bad enough, the mineral aspect was even worse. Not at all what I was expecting for a "vanilla smoked porter."

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice to see another great beer from Red Brick- I'm really enjoying the Brick Mason series. This one pours black with a thin beige head that leaves some lacing. Lightly smoky in the nose, with some underlying roastiness and a fair bit of noticeable sweetness. The taste is similar, but a beautifully integrated whole. Very nice, but gentle notes of wood smoke, subtle bourbon notes, restrained vanilla, some light roastiness and a somewhat sweet and quite creamy finish. Quite nice. The mouthfeel is downright silky- ultra-smooth with notes of smoke drifting in and out of the creaminess. Really good, and hopefully this and the double IPA are harbingers of things to come.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle 

A- Poured into a sniffer. Pours a dark brown color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is smoked malts and whiskey. I can't pick up on much of the vanilla in the nose.

T- The taste is malty up front with some smokey flavors and some of the whiskey flavors from the barrel aging come through as well.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is SERIOUSLY smoky, like burnt green wood, with a hint of, yep, you guessed it, vanilla, and a touch of coffee. It pours a warm opaque sable with a thick, fluffy, persistent light tan head. Smoky flavor has vanilla, coffee and molasses notes to it. Firm-bodied texture is fairly fizzy and leaves a woody, smoky finish that has hints of coffee and yeast.

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Photo of champ103
4.21/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A two finger, rocky, tan head forms with good retention. Rings of sticky lace are left behind. This is a looker.
S: Smoked meat right up front. Bacon and ham. Slightly astringent with some vanilla making its way in towards the end.
T: Again, huge smoked meat flavors that follows the nose. Though more balanced. Plenty of smoke and wood along with toasted malts. A great vanilla sweetness cuts through the smoke more than the nose for an excellent balance.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low on the carbonation, but not under carbonated at all. Velvety smooth. So easy to drink. There is no alcohol, and everything is very well balanced.

At first the nose showed a bit of an unbalanced smoked meat character that I am not a fan of (though most smoke head are). Though the flavor is very balanced. Plenty of smoke to go around, but the toasted malts and vanilla are great as well. Highly recommended.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to mrandypandy for this beer in a recent trade!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with 1 finger of white head that falls quickly to a ring around the top of the beer.

Smell: Very oaky and heavy smoke too. Charcoal briquets. Roasty malts and vanilla sweatness. Earthy notes & peat.

Taste: expecting really sweet, but this beer is seriously smokey. A dry and meaty almost bacon like smokiness. Subtle sweetness from notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey. This beer also has a nice oak presence. The barrel notes are really well integrated. Mild booze kick in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied porter with low end of medium level carbonation. The carbonation is prickly and crisp for a barrel aged beer. Smoke makes this beer finish really dry.

Overall: This is a nice beer, but it was just a little over the top with the smokey notes. I feel like I am sitting next to a bonfire with every sip of this beer. It like a Porter combined with a Rauch beer then barrel aged.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to morimoto76 for sharing this bottle during a recent tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a deep red brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, smoke, roasted malt, dark fruit, wood, vanilla, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, smoke, wood, dark fruit, vanilla, and subtle alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Just about everything on this one was pretty nice, but I just wish there was a little more complexity and intensity on the aspects present. Been wanting to try this one for awhile and glad I finally got the chance.

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Photo of maximum12
1/5  rDev -71.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to, well, you know who you are, for throwing this into an excellent springtime trade. 12 oz. bottle poured after the kids are down & the wife is out. I should really be sleeping.

Pour is dark & fizzy with red highlights, & I like red highlights. Smokiness comes out to play quickly in the nose...& that's about it. Huh.

Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is infected by something mind-blowing. This might be the FIRST BEER EVER that's so terribly I can't take another sip. Not one more. If this were a science experiment, the scientist would be dead or an extra in Deliverance by now.

Putrid. Looking down a few more reviews, it's pretty plain that this one is infected. Strong contender for the worst single thing I've ever put in my mouth...oh, never mind. Complete & utter failure.

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Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a nice deep chocolate brown with a small tan head that recedes slowly to a thick collar.

Aroma is interesting and heavy on smoked malts with some hints of vanilla. There are some roasty malts and a little bakers chocolate underneath.

The taste is excellent and has a few interesting things going on. The smoked malts are still there but the vanilla is a little more prominent as is the chocolate and malts in the backbone.

Smooth feel with good carbonation.

I'm a big, big fan of this beer and I'm pretty excited about what ABC has been putting out lately. Get some now.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Delirium Tremens snifter. Thank goes to jbck109 for this one.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of soft looking dense dark tan head that slowly bubbled away into a fuzzy film. Very fine spots of lacing were left down the glass.
S: They don’t call it Smoked Vanilla Gorilla for nothing. Smoke, campfire, barbeque and char dominate, but I do get some sweeter hints of vanilla pudding beneath.
T: Smoke is prominent but not as much as the nose suggested. I get more roasted characteristic than I do smoke. Toasted malts and grains come through nicely with a little bit of milk chocolate. Vanilla still reminds me of pudding, and is present in the finish. The aftertaste is lightly smoky.
M: Thin and watery mouthfeel. Bubbles are soft but low. This could really use a boost in body.
O: This bottle doesn’t seem to be infected, or if it is it hasn’t developed enough to be detrimental. I thought this was a rather delicious smoked porter. It was a bit thin, but it certainly was easy to drink. Thanks again, Jay!

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Photo of FosterJM
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

882nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2011 Release
Served at cellar temp.

Thanks to ahlthe3rd for this one.

App- A good rich mahogany brown with some amber highlights. Borders a deep brown but needs more richess to it. A good two finger head with maybe a couple dots of cling.

Smell- A good bit of smoke flavor with some oak barrel and a tad bit of vanilla. If you say Vanilla, it should have more of it in the nose. A good bit of booze as well.

Taste- A small thiness with the porter malt flavor. The roast comes next with only a touch of vanilla and then a little bit of espresso and the spicy smoked flavors.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A good bit of roast and smoke. A little lit down with the lack of vanilla on aftertaste.

Drink- This was a good tasty beer but needed to pop more with the vanilla. The smokiness and roast is there with some oak flavors just needs to balance a bit more.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.76/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours darkest brown. Light brown finger of head. Light oak and Bourbon, slight chocolate and a massive vanilla note. Meaty smokiness shows when warmer. Vanilla bursts out on the taste, definitely like vanilla beans. Some chocolate and subtle oak and Bourbon notes. Smoke is present and adds a nice element. Medium bodied, clean finish. Good brew. My favorite Brick Mason brew thus far.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - This beer pours damn near black with some mahogany highlights. It is topped with about an inch of mocha head.

S - The aroma gives off milk chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt scents.

T - I taste the milk chocolate right away. I think that is the combination of the chocolate and vanilla. I also taste some roasted malt, and it finishes with black coffee.

M - Full and creamy

O - I enjoyed this beer. I wasn't expecting much with the mediocre rating, but it had a lot of flavor and a nice, creamy mouthfeel. I would definitely drink this again if it was available. I did not get any indication of smoke though.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.14/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampling at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a deep cola brown hue with fizzy beige head of 1 cm fading quickly to an edge layer. Aromas are rich with brown sugar and some vanilla. I also get a little smoke with a mix of campfire ash and sausage notes, the smoke is pretty mild however.
Overall the nose is complex and appealing.
First sip reveals an average body with fine gentle rolling carbonation. Flavor is fairly sweet up front with molasses and vanilla and a bit of whiskey mixing together. A complex flavor profile but not over the top or messy.
Pretty easy to drink with no hints of booze or hops anywhere.
A complex beer that is pretty much what the label advertises. A nice beer that I would pick up again if I came across a bottle.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up while on vacation in Palm Beach, Florida. The title on this beer sounded really cool, and I like to try new, regional beers.

I poured this into a snifter. The beer looks like a "gorilla" color. It is black with only the slightest amount of light coming through. The foam disappears almost immediately.

You get a ton of smoke from the nose. It is very different from the stock, smoke smell. I don't smell any bacon presence. I also got some of the whiskey. I feel like there might be the slightest hint of coffee, but I may be imagining it.

In my first drink I get a lot of smoke, sour, and coffee past it's prime. The smoke flavor has a little bit of bacon to it. I don't get much of the whiskey in the flavor. There was no vanilla presence. It really isn't balanced. I wish I liked it more. I think I like the description more than the flavor.

The mouthfeel is fine. The flavor comes off pretty evenly. I actually pick up more from the after-taste than from the beer itself.

This was an interesting experience. I won't pick up another bottle, but I appreciate having had this bottle.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.6/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The brew pours a deep brown-black and is topped with a frothy tan head that deposits significant lacing upon the glass. The nose does not lend any appreciable vanilla, which is surprising given the brew's moniker. What I am getting from the aroma is a very nicely apportioned balance of roasty malt, charred sugar, and smoke. The flavor is outstanding; vanilla makes an appearance, and lives up to its billing in that regard, but there is a high level of complexity going on here. It is woody, roasty, slightly smokey-sweet, with leather, vanilla and dark chocolate notes. Big creamy mouthfeel too. Overall, a big winner in my book. It is actually much like a Bourbon: though it does not taste like Bourbon, it finds its success by utilizing much of the same palate and profile, as the aforementioned descriptors suggest. This delicious beer has taken me by surprise, and has left quite an impression on me.

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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Red Brick Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.