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Great Lakes Harry Porter And The Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean - Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes Harry Porter And The Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean
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very good

44 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 9
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Sammy on 03-13-2011)
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of valianes
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kelvarnsen
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Jeffo
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another cool brew from Hopsolutely. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Tank 10 Series
IBU: 18
1001 Vanilla Beans

APPEARANCE: A clearer brown pour yields a 1+ finger, foamy, medium-thinner looking, light tan head with great retention. Bistre brown body with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. A swirly wisp remains until the end and leaves some splotchy lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Vanilla beans, sweet cream, milk chocolate and some light butterscotch aromas as well. Very faint bourbon in the back, but the spirit is restrained. Quite nice really.

TASTE: Vanilla and sweet cream up front, with more creamy sweetness at the swallow. Medium and lingering finish of vanilla beans, sweet cream, milk chocolate, caramel sweetness and some faint hints of bourbon as well. Sweet in general, though everything is balanced out rather nicely.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Begins slightly prickly but smoothens out nicely as it sits, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky.

OVERALL: Quite an enjoyable brew here. A lot of vanilla porters end up being overdone and overly sweet, but this one is balanced nicely and is an easy drinker. Soaking the vanilla beans in bourbon also added a nice, restrained spirit quality that was well done. Complex and multi-dimensional, this one is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. Thanks again for the opportunity Hopsolutely! Recommended.

Photo of JMBSH
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of ktat
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

650ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $6

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an above average size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and light coffee. There is also some vanilla and a bit of a graininess. Not much Bourbon.

Overall - An above average very drinkable porter. The vanilla is subtle and the bourbon is even more subtle - I couldn't taste it. I'd pick this up again if it was in tall cans or 6 packs etc.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jriggins6
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of JohnnyMc
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Pmicdee
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Bf_89
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of evil_liver
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of biegaman
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vanilla is normally associated with the colour white but there's absolutely nothing white about this beer - even its head is as dark as some mainstream stouts! Between the blackish-brown body and honeycomb wafer coloured foam it looks something like a liquid Coffee Crisp chocolate bar (which, coincidentally, it also smells and tastes like).

Allow me to clear something up that confused me: Harry Porter and the Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean is brewed with vanilla beans (1001 of them to be exact) that were soaked in bourbon whiskey. The beans may or may not be the bourbon vanilla variety from Madagascar, which takes its name from when the island was under French colonial (hence "Bourbon") rule.

I wanted to clarify this only because, while there's no mistaking the vanilla beans, the bourbon element is frankly so subtle that it goes undetected. Bourbon is a big flavour but without the oak barrel to back it up all the creamy sweetness of the beans obliterates any trace of it (and what little might have survived is squashed by the smokiness of roasted malts).

Indeed, the aroma alone is so saturated in vanilla as to be borderline saccharine at times. Even all the chocolate, coffee and malty notes of the base beer bow to the mighty beans. The smell reminds me of those quintessential tea wafers that come sandwiched with cream (the pink variety in particular). The taste, however, is more like the Neapolitan ones (which have the hazelnut-flavoured chocolate cream filling) and has a lot of vanilla cupcake qualities.

Harry Porter is a robust, smoky, bitter dark beer. The excessive use of vanilla in this spin-off has resulted in a correspondingly sweet mouthfeel that drinks something like a milkshake made of Nutella and condensed milk. These "magical beans" have "magically" turned flavours of dark chocolate into milk chocolate, coffee into hazelnut latte, and also chased all the hops away.

Harry Porter and the Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean is a delicious dessert, perhaps one of the most sweet and satisfying of its kind. (I need to find some way of baking with this!) But it drinks like melted ice cream, and when it comes down to it the original Harry Porter and its other incarnations (i.e., Fair Grounds Coffee Bean) are much better beers.

Photo of Cycle69
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of byronic
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of deonreds
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of polloenfuego
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of andrenaline
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to peensteen for hooking up this brew...

A - Pours pitch black with two fingers of head, solid retention and nice sheeting lacing.

S - Solid nose, burnt cocoa, espresso undertones, hints of vanilla and a touch of burnt toast.

T - Much like the nose, loads of cocoa, some bitter coffee notes, and sweet vanilla. Bourbon is incredibly subdued and a tad underwhelming, but noticeable if you focus on trying to identify it.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - A tasty brew with a solid flavour profile, though a tad disappointing from the bourbon standpoint (though to be expected given that the vanilla beans were the only thing exposed). Nonetheless a tasty brew worthy of seeking out.

Photo of GoHabsGo
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of kevinlater
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of irishkyle21
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of peensteen
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of yancot
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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Great Lakes Harry Porter And The Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean from Great Lakes Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.