Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
253 Reviews
Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee PorterWolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Unfiltered and unpasteurized porter brewed with Vermont grown organic coffee and aged on organic vanilla beans.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 253 | Ratings: 780
Photo of beerman207
2.3/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

My sister hooked me up with this one and it survived the plane ride home in tact.

A: Pours just like I want - dark brown head, fluffy at first then disappearing into a light skim. The body is the deepest brown you can get without being black. Pretty excited.

S: Coffee, maybe even a bit of licorice? smoke as well.

T: Man, just when I was really excited this thing kind of reminds me of a local oatmeal stout we have in Cincinnati (not a good thing). Coffee dominates the whole thing and it's kind of a mess imo. Needs more sweetness to balance.

M: Mild carbonation, body is medium.

D: Man, what a bummer. Thought this was going to be great based on the pour but for my taste this is just an average or below average porter. To be fair, my favorite is the Edmund Fitzgerald and that's a lofty goal for any porter to reach.

Drain pour - better beer in the fridge than this.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.42/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - dark mahogany brown with a quarter finger of tan head that fizzes away quickly

S - smells like last nights coffee still in the coffee maker, cant pick up the vanilla in the aroma, some nutty malts, but day old cold coffee is overpowering

T - acidic day old coffee harshly greets the palate and blankets out any other flavors, the vanilla bean is a slight echo at the back of the taste

M&D - it really tastes and feels liks i am drinking day old coffee, slightly acidic and medicinal, without a terribly complex flavor to save the experience, not a beer i would buy more of, but not horrible either, the coffee flavors are tasty

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
2.59/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured pitch black from a 12 oz bottle with no ABV or freshness date on the label. Good head which disappears fairly quickly. As the name suggests, this is coffee all the way. Right from the moment I cracked the bottle open, the aroma of coffee was evident. In fact, it is so overpowering that it is hard to get past the coffee if indeed there is anything else to the aroma. The taste again is coffee, coffee and more coffee. Decent lacing along the glass, and mouthfeel is good. But the weakness is the taste, way too much coffee for my liking. It is definitely not up my alley, and I don't see myself having this one in the distant future. Wolaver's/Otter Creek definitely have better beers than this one.

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Photo of founddrama
2.71/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

LOOK: Rich brown with some red hues. About a finger's worth of light tan head when poured into a shaker glass.

NOSE: Coffee. Just coffee.

TASTE: I'm just getting coffee. That's the one and only note here. It doesn't complement any other flavors, it's just the only thing there.

FEEL: A much lighter body than I'd expect for something billed as a porter. Maybe it'd work if billed as a brown?

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Photo of MaltistLupulist
2.93/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso (Dupont Circle) in Washington, D.C.; served in a nonic glass.

Appearance is pretty dark, considerably more so than a standard porter, but nonetheless a shade shy of what you'd a expect a stout to look like. A good amount of short-lived head resembling raw umber yields feeble lacing.

The nose is an assorted mix of predictable and unexpected, even random and whimsical, aromas: dark-roasted coffee, some dark fruits, some ham (smokiness), some vinosity, and some sharp funk/rancidity. While I'm normally quite keen on sour ales, I'm concerned as to the presence of aromatics characteristic of that style in something as different as a coffee porter. I suspect the vanilla component plays some role in this olfactory confusion, in particular its interplay with the coffee component, which may work well in a caffe latte but not when fermented grains become a variable, at least not in this case.

My concerns are confirmed as I take my first sip: all the aromatic components have their counterparts in the flavor, but, surprisingly, the vinosity and sourness, while unusual, are far less offensive than the coffee component, which is harsh, astringent, and grimace-inducing. Some roastiness in terms of the malt itself, rather than the coffee, is detectable but obscured by that of the java (hispaniola, actually). I'm ambivalent as to the sourness--one moment I like it, the next I don't--but the peculiar combination of fruit and funk is an intriguing and not inharmonious one. The coffee element, however, is uniformly offensive (although it mellows a bit in the finish), and, as this is the primary flavor, spoils what may otherwise have been a tasty beer. The burnt coffee flavor in this porter is enough of a repellent on its own, but its incompatability with the sourness of the beer renders this a near-drainpour.

Medium-bodied, lightly-to-moderately carbonated. Mouthfeel could be described as silky, but I'm too busy scowling to pay much attention. Drinkability is poor not because of any alcohol detection but because of the reasons described above; if you can tolerate the harshness, I imagine you can have a few of these without exceeding "tipsy" on the inebriation scale.

In summary, I'm glad I tried this at a half-price happy hour rather than committing to a sixer--I'd ogled this beer many times on the shelves of my local Whole Foods--but I'm extremely unlikely to ever try it again. I suppose I should never say never, though; my review of Founders Breakfast Stout was likewise damning, but I have come to realize it can be quite toothsome with a few months or even weeks on it. Perhaps the same is true of Alta Gracia, but even if this is the case, I doubt a compromise can be reached between the disparate coffee and lambic/sour ale traits of this beer--it's almost as if it has a split personality.

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Photo of gfreed
2.98/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

If you must have coffee in your beer, this one isn't a bad one to try. I'm not a huge fan of the style: unlike the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, beer and coffee do not represent a happy accident. The coffee here is far too forward in both aroma and flavor, although the burned and slightly bitter aftertaste is pleasant. The sweet whatever-it-is up front, however, is a bit icky. Non-dairy creamer, anyone? Postum?

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Photo of theBubba
2.98/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Okay. Pop the cap and smell. Even before pouring into my stem glass, the coffee immediately came through. A bad omen.

Poured with a nice head that didn't last too long, but kept a decent lace all the way to the end. Color was almost that of black coffee.

Taste was pretty much the same. Well, maybe more like malty black coffee. I can't imagine drinking more than one of these. I would call this a novelty beer. Nothing you couldn't do yourself by adding a shot of strong black coffee to your porter. IMHO a cherry wheat, a chocolate stout, or a coffee porter should first taste like beer. Then after sipping, one should get the subtle flavor of the fruit, nut, spice or whatever was added to the wort.

To my taste, this is more like ale flavored coffee.

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Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to billab914 for dropping this as an extra into a recent trade.

Pours black, no sugar, hold the cream. Smell, taste, aftertaste, & everything else screams coffee at the top of its lungs.

Nothing wrong with this beer, but I like a little beer in my coffee. There's nothing here but a bit o' Folgers black.

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Photo of Mario61Aler
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a nice dark brown with a nice head and lacing.

smelled good with loyts of coffee notes

Taste fell off could taste some coffee and no vanilla. mouithfeel was thin for a porter.

Overall it was okay I wouldn't try too hard to find this one again, but if it was there and none of the other porters were available I'd get it.

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Photo of HenryCarr
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'll say it right off the bat. This is a very dense flavor; it's a little too much for me. I've never been a fan of the strong flavor blend or the thicker beer and this falls into both categories.

Of course, some people don't like asparagus and I love it. I'd say this beer is good for what it is. I just don't like what it is.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: deep brown; - a touch of ruby at the edges; less than a 1 finger light brown head that receded to a thick cap; OK lacing;

S: roasted grains; coffee grounds;

T: follows the nose; light bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: coffee grounds is not a flavor I want;

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Photo of datalager
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have now consumed four bottles of this over the past month, attempting different combinations of food, no food, time of day, and mood. Why? Because I've been struggling to finish even one bottle, and with my respect for Otter Creek, and this style, I thought it was only fair to give a thorough exam of this ale which was referred to me by a close craft beer lover.

Pour is dark mahogony, with attractive red edges against the light. The tan head is short and lacks lace inducing qualities. But still I'd say it's overall an attractive dark porter.

Smell is good, with a mixture of roasted malts and toasted, almost burnt coffee.

Flavor is where this ale goes south for me. Mind you, I enjoy coffee porters. In fairness, there is a nice combination of malt, molasses and light hop. But the backbone of this beer, the coffee, simply tastes like old, burnt coffee grounds. And with an overly stale taste it really distracts from the otherwise deep, malty character that any porter deserves.

Mouthfeel is fine for this style, just a little bright up front, but smooth and syrupy in the swallow with little dryness.

Overall, I was fairly disappointed with the Alta Gracia. I enjoy everything else I've had from Otter Creek, and love coffee porters in general. I'll wait a good while before trying it again. Although I plan to revisit this ale in the future to ensure that there isn't something wrong with my batch (or my tastebuds).

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Photo of smcolw
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Warning: I'm not a fan of regular coffee. Although I recognize and appreciate the coffee elements of darker beers, the actual aroma and taste of coffee is abhorrent to me.

Moderate head that dies to a single layer of bubbles. Leaves good ring lace. Near black in color, the faintest of light comes through the edge of the glass.

Bitter, bitter black coffee aroma. Think coffee grounds.

Okay, way too much coffee for me to enjoy. Very bitter and dry. There's no other flavor for me to detect. Fairly typical body with a slightly high carbonation level. The aftertaste is all coffee.

In some ways, I should not rate this because I struggle with this flavor. If you are a coffee lover, you may love this.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown bordering on black, with a thin tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is all french roast coffee and espresso, along with a bit of dark fruit, very dark chocolate, a bit of lactose and some burnt bread. The flavor is a bit one dimensional, with big arabica coffee and espresso, some dark chocolate, burnt bread, hints of dark fruit and alcohol. The mouthfeel is light and smooth and drinkability is limited by the intense coffee flavor. This is a decent coffee beer, but it lacks the complexity of the better coffee stouts/porters (pipeline porter, FBS, Bell's Java, etc.)

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Oliver's in Albany, NY.

Pours a clear, dark brown, with a one inch short-lasting head, and not much lacing to speak of.

Smells like burnt coffee, espresso, and vanilla beans.

The burnt coffee flavor in this is a bit much to overcome. The coffee is astringently bitter- when combined with a watery mouthfeel, it's not all that enjoyable. The vanilla is nice and adds some silky creaminess to the proceedings. As the beer warms up, the coffee flavor becomes stronger, but less astringent.

Thin body, low carbonation. Watery mouthfeel.

Not the best from Wolaver's that I've had.

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Photo of Selyrp
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pretty sexy on first pour; very dark with a nice mocha head, which faded quickly. Strong coffee smell was exciting.

Ever grab a handful of raw, unground coffee beans and chewed on them for a bit? This is kind of like that, but liquefied and carbonated. Much more coffee than beer, with a lingering sweetness.

Surprisingly light for a porter, given the robust flavor and went down pretty easily once I had gotten through the first few sips. Still, I prefer notes of coffee rather than a full-on coffee bean flavor, and would have trouble drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of Kromes
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: clear dark brown with a thin line of off-white bubbles on top.

S: All that I can pick up is a rather strong aroma of fresh ground coffee, like walking into a starbucks.

T: A strong flavor of roasted coffee and malt at first. This fades into a burnt coffee flavor with a very faint hint of vanilla.

M: It's thin and watery at first, but fills out a little with the carbonation. The finish is a touch bitter.

O: Not too bad of a beer. Good coffee flavor, but that's about it.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wolaver's Alta Garcia Coffee Porter has a dark brown body that, being completely opaque, looks black. A frothy brown head has solid retention and lacing.

The aroma is good, with tons of fresh roasted coffee in it.

The taste, although similar to the aroma, is much less pleasant. Coffee completely dominates the flavor, but it is acrid and bitter. I find this problem with lots of coffee beers, and its a shame. Besides coffee, there is a little bit of roasted malt and that's about it. This beer isn't bad, I just think it missed the mark in the coffee flavor.

Medium bodied with carbonation that is a tick above average.

I certainly wouldn't contend that Wolaver's Alta Garcia Coffee Porter is a bad beer, as that would not be true. I for one, however, was not enthused with the slightly off-flavor of the coffee.

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Photo of rebcwood
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

Looks very dark and deep but closer look shows a solid caramel color.

Coffee smell is very bold. Smell caramel as well.

Bitter starts the intense coffee tastes. Tastes exactly as it smells. Finishes with a smooth caramel coating.

Not very impressed but I will chalk it up to me being a novice.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice to see this seasonal on the shelves at my local TW. Threw it in a mixed sixer and was on my way. I'm a sucker for coffee-beers. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Enjoyed during the Packer game last night. 45-7!!

Pours a dark amber-tinted brown with a thin beige head on top. Light lace. The nose was excellent. Lot's of dark-roasted coffee, espresso, faint chocolate, and a mild nuttiness. The mouth was a little more carbonated than I'd prefer, and the finish was oddly thin. It was an easy drinker though. The coffee is very pronounced in the flavor as well, as expected, but it finishes slightly sour and off. Some chocolate sweetness balances it out a bit. Some notes of vanilla in there as well. All-in-all, this was definitely coffee-forward, but it just wasn't my cup of "coffee." Glad I tried it though.

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Photo of matty
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is the smell of a diner in the morning(heavy coffee).Taste is coffee grinds,cocoa,and smoked malts.If you do not like the taste of coffee this is not for you.I enjoyed it but I would find it hard to drink more than one at a sitting.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours pitch black with a half finger of foam that flitters away quickly. Aroma is tannic, bitter coffee, papery, cardboard.

First sip is heavy on the roasted coffee flavor. Hints of vanilla follow up - nice and subtle. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Would prefer this to be a little chewier, sweeter, and full bodied. Tastes almost like a vanilla latte. As it warms, vanilla is more present.

Not terrible. Just needs some sweetness to round it out a bit. Will have to compare this to my homebrewed coffee porter.

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Photo of beerphan
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a big fluffy pulsating head that settle to a tight film of milky way suds. A few clumps of lace stick for a moment before sliding into the dark abyss.

Nose: Rich vanilla, light coffee beans, some dark fruit, booze

Thin creamy mouth that slide right in. Creamy mix of vanilla and coffee. A ton of vanilla with coffee ridiing second fiddle in the background. Finishes the same.

A really sweet beer that would be most likely work best as an after dinner treat pared with some ice cream and cake. Don't think I could do more than one.

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Photo of runner72
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, ruby red, creamy head, laces the glass

S - Coffee, vanilla, burnt... something a little off on the smell

T - coffee, a little burnt/smoked taste. malty. coffee on the after taste

M - malty, a little tingly with the amount of carbonation

D - A little off to my tastes. The mix of coffee and vanilla seems to be missing something plus the smokey taste

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Photo of JustinAniello
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black with a two finger head, small amount of light shines through. Dissipates to a nice lacing.

S - All I can smell is coffee grounds, with malt moving in and out from the background.

T - Sweet malt with light coffee flavor that quickly turns into heavy coffee grounds with vanilla. Mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Good for the style.

O - Not a stellar coffee beer, but not too bad either. Heavy coffee grounds is a bit of an odd choice to get the coffee flavor, beans or brewed would better the smell and flavor. Still wouldn't deny being given one, though would probably not buy again.

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Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter from Otter Creek Brewing
3.92 out of 5 based on 780 ratings.
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