Puget Sound Vanilla Porter | Harmon Restaurant & Brewery

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13 Ratings

Brewed by:
Harmon Restaurant & Brewery
Washington, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RedDiamond on 08-20-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13 |  Reviews: 11
Photo of mfavoino
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Harmon Taproom.

Appearance: Deep brown with lively carbonation with a thin head.

Smell: Light roasted malt flavors and then got hit with some vanilla aromas that dominated the nose.

Taste: Very sweet initially with an overwhelmingly vanilla flavor, then settled down to a more traditional roasted malt flavor. The vanilla flavor seemed unnatural to me.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with good carbonation. Easy to drink.

Overall: The pronounced vanilla made it seem kind of unnatural and the beer didn't have much beyond that. Too much of one flavor for me to want to try another pint.

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Photo of piclee
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of youradhere
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark brown with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Hints at roasted malt, cocoa and not much vanilla

T: Roasted malt, hints at the standard Puget Sound Porter which is very good. The vanilla influence is good but the vanilla is most noticable upfront.

M: Ahhh, no major issues

D: Easy to drink and would drink again.

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Photo of bondjedi
2.47/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Offered to me by a friend after a looong Friday at work. I needed a beer - ANY BEER - and leapt at the offer.

Started out okay. Maybe the serving should have been colder. This is not a beer that holds up well to room temperature.

Novelty of vanilla taste wore off after two or three sips. From there on out quite unpleasant, like drinking cough syrup that had a vanilla Tootsie Roll dissolved in it.

I would not buy this beer. Gimmicky and half-baked - The Harmon should stick to the meat and potatoes instead of dopey schemes like this.

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Photo of DanOLeary
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma: Rich and full bouquet of sweet milk chocolate with balanced vanilla undertones rounding it out. No hop aroma detectable. There is a hint of roasted barley that comes off a bit grainy, but it is very subtle.

Appearance: Deep black with only a trace of ruby red hue near the top edge of the beer. A very thin head holds a faint off-white ring around the glass.

Flavor: Excellent sweet chocolate and vanilla flavor up front that fades to a light candy sugar in the middle before finishing with a touch of roasted barley. While this beer seems to be all about the vanilla and chocolate malt, the hops come into play in the finish with a subtle cut of citrus before dropping away.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with light carbonation, though the CO2 does have a tingling effect on the tongue. While I wouldn't put this in the brown porter category, the mouthfeel seems a bit watery for a robust porter. This ale finishes very clean with some roasted barley drying effects on the tongue, though not tannic. A very light stickiness is left in the mouth at the end.

Overall: A sweet and enjoyable porter with very nice levels of vanilla and chocolate. The body is a bit uninspiring but what it lacks there is made up in well balanced flavor and aroma. An easy drinking and fulfilling porter, I'll be asking for this one again.

As a side note my wife tried the standard Puget Sound Porter during our visit. While her beer offered more of a hop presence often welcome in a porter, I have to say the Vanilla Porter supplied more depth and complexity overall.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times not on cask and it was ok, but on cask it was much better. The cask was tapped that day too, so its super fresh.

A- Very dark black, with a milk chocolate brown head.

S- The smell of chocolate and vanilla, along with a slight smell of coffee.

T- The taste was great, the vanilla comes though nicely. This has a nice balance with not being too sweet. The chocolate that is there is great and creamy. There is a slight bitterness to it as well that helps keep it extra tasty.

M- Soft, silky and creamy. The carbonation is spot on, very balanced.

D- Easy to drink to say the least.

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Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Vanilla Porter was on special. As with all beers at this brewpub, it is served in a standard pint glass. It is black with a tan head. It has wisps of lacing.

Nose of roasted malts, brown sugar and a hint of vanilla.

The vanilla is more prominent in the taste. It compliments the roasted malts, brown sugar and dark fruit. It is a nice balance of flavors.

The mouth is sturdy and a bit slick.

Nice effort, best beer of the night!

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Photo of noremorse1
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Growler I had filled at the bar.

Beer pours a dark black with an off-colour medium head. A little retention with a decent amount of lace.

This beer smells wonderful. The first thing I smell is the vanilla beans, the second is chocolate, and the third is a roasted malt/coffee. The vanilla is definetly the strongest of the smells though.

Taste is of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate with subtle vanilla undertones. The bar-keep told me this beer is brewed with vanilla beans, not vanilla extract, and the lingering aftertaste is indicative of this. The alcohol is present, but not at the front. Well balanced... an absolutely delicious beer.

Mouthfeel is warm and lingering. Medium bodied with an adequate amount of carbonation. Very refreshing.

I will have little problem finishing this growler tonight. This is one of their best beer's (along with the Harmon Hop IPA). It ranks up there with the Anchor Steam Porter in my opinion. Anyone visiting the Tacoma area would be wise to invest in a pint or two of the Vanilla Porter at the Harmon Brewery. PROST!

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Photo of Derek
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Guest tap at Flyers.

A: Deep chestnut-brown, light tan head, slight retention, good lace.

S: Vanilla & nut-bread.

T: Vanilla, biscuity malt, light nut & caramel, hint of citrus hops.

M: Light to moderate body is smooth & creamy, with a dry finish; moderate carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable.

I think it's more of a brown ale than a porter.

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Photo of ccrida
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A draught pint from the pub, the Vanilla Porter is muddy, very dark garnet, with small off-white collar and wispy surface skim.

The nose is roasty, expresso light malt and semi-sweet chocolate, with the slightest hint of hazelnut. At first, I didn't think I would have pegged the vanilla had it not been in the name, but as it warmed, it started opened up. The chalk board says it aged with 3 whole vanilla beans. While I hate overdone adjuncts, they could have certainly upped the ante a bit here.

The taste is nice, with a bit more depth then the smell. Not as roasty as the nose, although there it's far from sweet, but less coffee and more dark chocolate, that comes off a little powdery. I can pick up some of the vanilla, but it's a struggle, and again, might have been overlooked had it not been named otherwise. There is a nice bitterness to the finish, which probably keeps the overall impression far from sweet, although it's not astringent.

The mouthfeel is crisp, maybe a tad oily, and medium bodied in a good porter way.

This was a pretty easy drinking porter, and although nothing to exceptional, unassuming and well done.

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Photo of eballard
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is almost exactly like its sister Puget Sound Porter with the only difference being the addition of the vanilla bean. It pours a beautiful dark coffee brown with a thick foamy head that lingers long after the beer is gone. The smell if similar to the Puget Sound Porter with a dark aroma with hints of sweet chocolate but there is a very faint hint at the vanilla. The taste is a hard call the vanilla sits right in the middle of the regular porter taste and it’s hard not to compare the two. The beer is not too sweet because of the vanilla and it almost adds a slight mellowness to the flavor. In the end the blend is good and I don’t think it draws away from the taste but it’s hard for me not to prefer the original. The nitro feel really comes out in this beer. It has a smooth and elegant creamy feel to it and it goes down easy. It finishes sweet and leaves you wanting another drink. Over all I would say this is a fine drinkable beer and if the Puget Sound is out it’s a great alternative but I can’t help but go for the original.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can’t help but compare this to Harmon’s regular Puget Sound Porter and unfortunately that’s going to work against it. It’s my understanding that the vanilla porter is a summer seasonal brewed to the same specifications as the regular porter only with three large Madagascar vanilla beans allowed to age for ten days in each keg. The unfortunate part of this is that Harmon’s regular porter is so extraordinary that the vanilla can only detract from its brilliance, not enhance it. In this case, while the vanilla lends some exotica to the fragrance, it is ultimately marginalized in the taste making this a nice porter with an arresting aroma whose vanilla attributes are too timid to appreciate, yet too prominent to ignore.

Several renowned beer writers have given this beer glowing reviews in a nationally distributed beer magazine. I won’t disagree with their praise except to say that Harmon’s regular porter exceeds this to such a degree that this one pales in comparison.

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Puget Sound Vanilla Porter from Harmon Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 13 ratings