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.
BA SCORE
80
good

194 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 81
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 24.79%
Wants: 15
Gots: 21 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 81
Photo of largadeer
1.77/5  rDev -49.6%
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.

Photo of scottfrie
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
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!

Photo of nickfl
2.04/5  rDev -41.9%
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.

Photo of Kromes
2.36/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Pitch black with a finger's width tan colored head and good lacing down the glass.

S: Sweet roasted and smoked malt with chocolate and a bit of vinegar....which is weird.

T: Up front there is a little bit of roasted malt, but it is taken over by a very, very citric acid bite. No Bueno. I'll keep this review until I can try another....yuck.

M: The beer is rather light and smooth...but then finishes with a citric acid bitterness that kills everything.

O: Not good. I'll try again and update if necessary.

Photo of tewaris
1.12/5  rDev -68.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

By the label and by its very name, it's clear that this ale might have a lot to offer. Let's find out. Pours a very thin looking dark brown with some bubbles. Smells disgusting: stale coffee and... urine? There definitely are some restroom notes in here. Barrels? Vanilla? Smoke? Negative on all counts. Sour as hell and that's about it... raw mangoes? This is one of the few unintentionally infected beers I have run into. The bugs have taken over everything this might have had to offer. A major fail.

3, 1, 1, 1, 1

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chocolate brown with a surprisingly big, beige head. Eventually settles at around three fingers, and though it fades once I begin drinking, there is lacing aplenty.

S: Hmm, sort of smells like a wild ale. Brett, sour cherries, and some meaty smoke.

T: Starts off with those sour cherries. Towards the middle I get bacon and smoked ham. Brett and cherries come back towards the end, but the after taste is decidedly roasty and smoky.

M: Carbonation is a bit too present in the first second or two of the sip, but then moves to the background, keeping the body light but still allowing the flavors through.

O: I looked at a few other reviews and it seems that some think this is the way the beer was intended to taste, but I find that hard to believe. That being said, the smokey combined with the sour works surprisingly well. I would like to try a non-infected bottle some day.

Photo of wisrarebeer
2.57/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: deep, dark ruby color, clear, with nice tan head that was full but dissipated to a veil
S: more chocolate and roasted malt than smoke, medium nose
T: there's something wrong with this beer that is not evident in the nose, sour taste like it's gone off, not incredibly sour but enough to realize it's there and it detracts from what should be a chewy porter
M: I can't get past the sour taste, thin for its ABV and style

Photo of beergod1
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a tan head. Nose is a smokey wood, spice, vanilla and dark roast coffee. As it warms the whiskey starts to show. Taste is a bit confusing. Initially the smokey oak with some vanilla sweetness and some dark roasted malts. I don’t really get too much whiskey but more caramel, chocolate and some coffee. And really not much vanilla. It definitely gets better as it really warms. This, like the Old Stock ale, has a dense foam all the way through to the end, which seems to make it creamy.This brewery is pretty good, this is the second I have tried, gonna have to trade for some more.

Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of ummswimmin
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of biggmike
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown with a nice off-white head that dissipated quickly and left small ring around glass. Aroma was of chocolate, maple, bourbon and vanilla. Taste was very much like the aroma of this beer. Mouthfeel was maybe a bit thin, but this is still an enjoyable beer that I would have again. Good stuff.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of nhindian
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a cola-colored brown that pours easily into the snifter. There's not much head on here, about a finger's worth, but it does have some decent retention despite the lack in height. Sticky lacing surrounds the glass, layering the glass in its wispy wake.

S - The nose on this is intriguing and unique from the start. My very first impression draws me back to about a year ago when I first tried Short's S'more Stout (which was unfortunately badly infected) in the smokey campfire smell mixed with a strong sweetness. There it was due to the marshmallow and chocolate, but here, the vanilla beans add a pleasant sweetness. It probably helps that they smoke the vanilla beans as well to keep it from being overbearing. A touch of smoked meats flutters here and there.

T - My first takes me by surprise as there is a slight tartness here which I'm not sure is attributable to an infection or just the way the overall profile comes together. Either way, it's not disastrous as the S'more Stout was; it just adds another layer. The smoke is kicked up a notch here, overshadowing the vanilla just a touch, while the beans resurge in the finish to end on a sweeter note. A little bit of chocolate and coffee comes and goes, just staying long enough to make a slight impression. There is only a little bit of whiskey influence here, as I can just barely get some of the flavor mingling in the middle of the pack, but it's definitely not in the top 3 flavors at all.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with high carbonation. A little bit thin, especially for the range of flavors that this beer goes through, but it does keep it rather easy to get down. A smokey, woody finish leaves a lasting aftertaste.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. While the whiskey isn't as prominent as I was hoping it'd be, the other flavors seem to more than compensate for it with an interesting flavor profile. This pairs perfectly with a freezing, snowy night.

Photo of match1112
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: a half inch of bubbly tan head settles on top of a black body. a thin ring and some lacing are left behind.

s: smoked pork mainly. not getting much vanilla, but a little bourbon is in the background(very faint). also notice a slight sour smell.

t: this is a very smoky beer. also that off sour note is in the taste, dont know why or what it is. very little of the bourbon shines thru the smoke.

m: seems thin for a bourbon barrel porter, especially with all the smoke, should be chewy. i think it has a little too much carbonation and too much smoke.

o: disappointed in this one. either make a rauchbier or a barrel aged porter, but not both mixed together. too much going on in there, and that off sour note is making me think about drain pouring it.

Photo of lnashsig
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to ahlthe3rd (Hugh) for the chance to taste this one. Never heard of Red Brick or this beer and always looking to try new things! Poured from bottle into Brooklyn tulip. Pours a nearly pitch black/brown medium bodied pour. Barely any head and some visible alcohol legs. Smell- sweet smoked cherry malt. Some mocha and chocolate flavors behind it. That's about it for aroma. Taste- there is a wierd tartness to this, but I am not sure it is from infection, and might just be a malt characteristic. What I get absolutely 0 from here is anything related to bourbon. The flavors are the expected smoke, the sweet and tart malt backbone, maybe a little chocolate or coffee on the end. I like this beer, but it is not as I thought it would be. This is ok, but I'm not blown away.

Photo of DrewShal9
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pitch black with a creamy one finger white head
S: smoky bbq, vanilla beans, hints of bourbon. Very pleasant!
T: as the nose depicts with sweet coffee. As the brew warmed up some burnt yet tasty notes appeared.
M: velvety with thin prickly bubbles. Almost the viscosity of skim milk.
O: thought I wouldn't be this impressed but definitely try this out if you have the opportunity! Wonder what age would do to this.

Photo of chinchill
3.26/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.14/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle generously provided by the always solid Jason in a recent trade. Thanks for the opportunity!

Into my Unibroue tulip the Gorilla pours a murky brown with an initial fat froth that mellows to a tannish-white collar and a moderately sized isthmus that runs from one edge of the glass to the other. Lacing is minimal.

Smells lightly smoky. Not a roaring campfire, but rather the lingering fingers that stroke your clothing in the morning after pile following a night around ye old flame. Vanilla pops in for a brief hello as does a healthy dash of fresh cracked black pepper. The pepper was quite inviting and really blossomed upon warming.

Taste is only slightly perkier than the nose. Interplay of the flavors in slight and light....restrained might be more appropriate. Black pepper, whisps of smoke, faint vanilla, and cola. The cola might be the bourbon, but if it weren't mentioned on the label, I'm not sure I'd have pegged this as barrel aged.

Body is light and carbonation is prickly. This beer would benefit from some extra body.

Overall, it's an enjoyable, albeit it restrained, drink that falls just short of solid.

Photo of cps98
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as an extra on a trade so figured it was time to give it a try.

A – Dark black with hues of brown when exposed to the light. Very jagged off-white head that dissipates very quickly.

S - Smoke up front very little vanilla

T – Sweet smoke flavor followed by vanilla which had some extra twang to it.

M - A very thin beer for as dark as it was. Little to no carbonation in the bottle I had.

O – This is definitely not a style of beer I find myself drawn too. The beer was too thin and the flavors did not meld together nicely.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.17/5  rDev +18.8%
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.

Photo of champ103
4.21/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

Photo of Ryan011235
2.65/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an A-B flute on 12/14/11

Lighter to cap resulted in a loud pop; I'm surprised it didn't commence to gushing.

Medium brown; settles dark with half ruby, half stained wood highlights. Three finger head crackles to life (very noisy) and slowly settles a thin layer that bunches at the collar. Some lace catches and keeps up over time.

Smells like something might be wrong, but I can't be certain. Tangy roasted grains give way to mild notes of coffee, smoke, bitter dark chocolate and earth. I'm not picking out any vanilla. The barrel aging seems to have done little to impart whiskey tones; all that's going on here is a musty swamp wood note. Wait, just got a stray whiff of vanilla; very seldom seen.

Tastes questionable, too. Messy roasted notes of grain, chocolate and even some caramel it seems. There is a soft sweetness that I reckon could be attributable to the vanilla but it doesn't live up to an inclusion in the name of the beer. Heck, neither does the smoke. Some whiskey nips are appreciable but come across as generic to begin with and stale beyond that. Tastes dirty. Becomes a tad sweeter as it warms.

I find the feel to be obnoxiously thin; carbonation is far too vigorous, too. The feels hurting and already damaged beer; not a good thing. Finishes with mustiness and suggestions of murky barrel and the above hodge podge.

There's enough about this beer to be suspect and not enough to even consider a repeat visit. It's ok to try, but I'm debating whether to pour this out or not.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Red Brick Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.