Vanilla Oatis | Ninkasi Brewing Company

very good
120 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Vanilla OatisVanilla Oatis

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A delicious oatmeal stout with just enough hops to balance the copious quantities of dark roasted malts, oatmeal for a creamy smooth drinkability, and whole vanilla beans for a rich complexity. To achieve this higher level of decadence, we added in whole vanilla beans to the final stage of fermentation - the same process we use to dry hop a beer.

Added by Docer on 07-19-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 631
Photo of buschbeer
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PINT 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black with an inch of tan head that leaves very little lacing.

The vanilla is obvious. Dark chocolate and roasted malt are almost completely masked by the vanilla.

The vanilla dominates, especially after having a regular Oatis prior to this beer. Dark chocolate and coffee bitterness creep into the finish.

Full mouthfeel

This is a sweeter version of Oatis. I think I like the original a smidgen better.

 469 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Black in the glass. Head settles into only a thin cap. Thin sheets of lacing slide back into the beer and leave behind some broken rings.

S: Big dose of vanilla owns the nose. Caught in the tide of vanilla are malted milk balls, faint roasted malt, a whiff of dark roast coffee beans, subtle plums, and a hint of earthy hops.

T: As in the nose, vanilla is clearly the focal point. As the palate adjusts, smokey and roasty malt flavors come forward. Cola. Black coffee. Malted milk balls. Subtle plum and stone fruit. Earthy hops pull through a bit too. Vanilla wraps itself around the roasted malts and tempers the smoke and char on the finish.

M: medium bodied. Full and creamy. Fine-bubbled carbonation.

O: Personally I think the vanilla is a little overdone. It doesn't taste artificial or over the top, but it does hog the limelight and mask some of the great stout flavors. Still a very good beer, but I did prefer the regular Oatis.

 986 characters

Photo of Briken
2.76/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Dark black, big foamy brown head with good retention and nice lacing. Light roasty aroma. Deep roasted malt flavor slightly balanced with chocolate and a little hint of vanilla. Full bodied with light carbonation and a small bite.

Just the slightest hints of vanilla that you really have to work for make this beer fairly worthless. If you advertise vanilla there should be vanilla. In reality, even though it has a good oatmeal stout body but the roasted malts are far too overdone, The aroma is not bad, it's just missing vanilla.

 534 characters

Photo of RedRylee
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very dark but surprisingly light tasting. This is one of my favorite bombers. The vanilla is perfectly balanced to even out with the malt and nut tastes. this brew. absolutely rocks. Nice price too :)

 200 characters

Photo of bgold86
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice black, nice whitish brownish head. Big vanilla nose, even bigger vanilla flavor, that's about it! Too much vanilla, would be a great beer to mix with another cheap stout (coffee or chocolate).

 205 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black beer. Nice present vanilla notes but not overwhelming. Roasted malt notes and sweet oat notes are bit muted but still there. Nice smooth body. Get it.

 163 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured near black with a thick tan head and plenty of lacing. Nose was lighter than expected, but solid black malt and vanilla comes through. Taste is mild but very pleasant. Toasty, some vanilla, and a touch of burnt coffee. Also a pleasant medium finish and mouthfeel. A very likable and drinkable stout, but not one that requires a ton of contemplation.

 358 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: 16-oz. pint glass
From: Hooley’s in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $5.00 ($1 off with Happy Hour)
Purchased: July 22, 2015
Consumed: July 22, 2015
Misc.: N/A

Poured a black color with 1-to-2 fingers dark khaki head, frothy head when I got it. Above average-to-good amount of layered spiderweb lacing on the sides of the glass. Above average retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled toffee, caramel, nutty, bitter espresso, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and roasty oats. (Smell - 3.75)

First taste was very pleasant, getting vanilla bean, toffee and thick espresso. Also bitter coffee beans, caramel, roasty malts and light dry smokiness. (Taste - 4.00)

Full body. Creamy-to-slick texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long bitter finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was a really good beer for the style. Thick and roasty. (Overall - 4.00)

3.94 | 88 | B+

 877 characters

Photo of richj1970
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with two finger tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Vanilla, roasted malts, and cocoa powder.

T: Rich dark chocolate, vanilla, light coffee, and roasted malts.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Slightly creamy.

O: Very nice oatmeal stout. Sometimes vanilla can come off artificial or medicinal, but here it is quite tasty.

 396 characters

Photo of CHickman
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger creamy dark tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving decent spotty foamy lacing and rings as it went down; a creamy layer stick around on top for quite a while.

Smells of roasted grains, chocolate malt, vanilla, charred wood, cocoa powder, campfire ashes, Coco Puffs cereal, burnt coffee grinds and fresh piney hops. The hops come through strong at the end, adding nice balance and cutting through all the roast and char elements. The vanilla is not as strong as I expected considering the name, but it still smelled really good overall.

Tastes sweeter and more bitter with the burnt coffee grinds and fresh piney hops coming through for the bitterness, and then the sweetness combo of chocolate malt, vanilla, charred wood, cocoa powder, roasted grains, Coco Puffs cereal, light grapefruit, dry tea leaf, campfire ashes, chocolate milk, heavy cream and lactose sugar. The 50 IBU certainly shows up as does the roasted notes, earthy tones and char, but the vanilla was not the star as advertised. The vanilla beans must have melted away into the mash and let the hops replace them. The oatmeal, grains and chocolate malts give it a firm body that lets the hop bitterness play a nice role and counter the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, but almost too thin and watery with really solid roasted notes, a medium body that’s on the chewy side, and a bitter finish that’s kind of dry and yet sweet with a lot of chocolate and cocoa notes. It hides the 7% ABV perfectly and goes down extremely easy, the oats/oatmeal hitting the mark to make it a great oatmeal stout.

There is just enough hop/burnt coffee bite to mix well with the malt and oat base and keep the bitterness in the right range as the cocoa and light vanilla peek through to compliment the flavor and add nice accents to all the roasted malts. Although the vanilla component was a let-down, I think this was better than the base Oatis and more flavorful.

 2,016 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: black body with a mocha head a few fingers high; some lace motes left behind

S: vanilla clearly expresses itself above the dark roasted oat and cocoa aromas

T: vanilla is again at the front, riding atop bittersweet chocolate and hearty oat flavors; some espresso notes drift by in the background

M: smooth and light, modest carbonation, little bit of drying on the finish; nice finish and aftertaste

O: more smoothed out flavors courtesy of vanilla than their regular Oatis - I found it to be an improvement on that stout; vanilla influence will not disappoint.

 568 characters

Photo of vladdswrath
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one always looks good in the glass, dark,full of cascading bubbles and a nice sticky head. The vanilla is heavy in both the smell and the taste, but it doesn't overwhelm the brew. It feels just about perfect. My only complaint is that it is a little light in the body, for what most would consider a dessert beer. Of course, the upside is that you can drink more of them in one sitting, if you want.

 404 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip. Largely pitch black brew, I might concede that this is uber-dark brown. Quick dissipating creamy beige head.

Aroma is a decent balance of dark roast, toffee/sweet, and fruity elements. Nose is more dry and roasted than the palate, which recalls a mixture of dark roast coffee, baker's chocolate, burnt molasses, bran flakes, and sponge toffee with hints of prune and red grapes. Impressive complexity of flavor. The vanilla is subdued and well-integrated with the rest of the package. I like the vanilla Coke comparison.

Body may be on the light side, and the expected smoothness and creamy texture is present yet uneven. No real matter. The flavors manage to carry all the weight. Moderate carbonation. Finish is dry and roasty, a little earthy and astringent. Some mouthfeel issues notwithstanding, this is a tasty stout well worth sampling. Great ester presence and the roasted elements are balanced out nicely by some sweet special effects. Down with disease.

 994 characters

Photo of RJLarse
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Oatis Vanilla Stout in a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours an opaque black color with a thin tan head.

Smell is a vanilla and coffee aromas.

Tastes a little like a vanilla Coke. Roasted charcoal and coffee flavors with a vanilla flavor along side.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not cloying.

Overall a good stout. The vanilla is not over done.

 383 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Craft Beer Market, more new brews recently available In Alberta.
Opaque black, with a foamy dark tan head. Foam settles to a floating film that never disappears leaving thin rings of lace.
Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and vanilla aromas.
Taste is much the same with cocoa, and charred flavors on the finish. I didn't get a whole bunch of vanilla (wish it was a bit stronger).
Lower level of carbonation, smooth with a slightly crisp mouth feel.
Looking forward to trying more from Ninkasi.

 511 characters

Photo of mxchap
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Overall: Certainly drinkable, but lacking compared to many other oatmeal stouts. Vanilla presence is somewhat muted. [3.5]

Look: Pours a tall light-tan head with good retention. Lacing all the way around. Dark brown in color with some red highlights when held up to light. [5]

Smell: Vanilla (duh) and apples. Marshmallow, little bit of caramel presence (caramelized banana). [3.25]

Taste: Strong ester presence, along with some malty sweetness (and some artificial sweetness as well). Roasty and boozy flavor comes in at the end. [3.5]

Feel: Surpringly dry and hot finish. Seems off for what they were going for. Oats do little to impact the feel. Thin body [2.75]

 670 characters

Photo of Lard_City
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oats and vanilla are very subtle. Mostly roasted malt with a light hop bitterness and little sweetness. Very nice but not what I expected from reading the label.

 161 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I guess a plain old oatmeal stout wasn't enough for the palates of Ninkasi. Add while vanilla beans to the process, and bam, Vanilla Oatis. Coming out of a 22 ounce bottle (thanks Tina!), on to the beer:

Vanilla Oatis is ink black colored and topped with a half-inch of head which slowly drops in size to a vanilla colored lace. A few specs of lacing retain around the glass. Speaking of vanilla, I smell vanilla in this beer. Light roasty, astringent notes too. Call the aroma bittersweet, I guess.

This vanilla oatmeal stout doesn't hold back goodness. The beer offers a modest array of notes, from molasses and brown sugar, to over-roasted coffee, to a touch of vanilla with creamy oats. Not only does the beer bring bitterness from the roasted character, but there's a pungent kick of hops towards the end. Vanilla Oatis' best attribute is its silky smooth texture and full body, which makes this beer feel as much as a milkshake.

Can this be used as a meal replacement? Maybe not, but it sure would be fun to use.

 1,022 characters

Photo of arvidkoval
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very, very dark. Fantastic looking beer. Light roasted malt smell, overpowered by a nice sweetness. Roasty, sweet flavor with a vanilla finish. Silky, creamy, thick, decadent texture. This is a bad ass oat stout.

 214 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine in early November for $5.49. No bottling date visible.

Beer poured black with a nice brown head upon the initial pour.

Nose is roasted malts with hints of cocoa and vanilla.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts with a touch of cocoa and a kiss of vanilla. It is nicely balanced by a decent hopping. Finish is dry.

Mouthfeel is medium and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a very nice beer, nicely enhanced by a slight touch of vanilla. Too much vanilla in a beer is not a good thing for my palate. Definitely one I would have again.

 573 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black body; head pours two fingers of frothy tan foam. Head dissipates slowly with a big, chunky lace left on the glass; I like it a great deal.

Smell: light roasty character with a light vanilla aroma. Not bad overall, but mostly rather low in intensity.

Taste: the vanilla is up front, followed by a classic oatmeal stout flavor, if a bit on the sweet side. The vanilla is good, but almost too much for me.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a decent creaminess for the style. Not bad.

Overall: I think the vanilla is just a little too much on this one. Mostly a good beer, but it could be dialed back a notch.

 699 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into an imperial pint glass.

Vanilla Oatis is nearly black in color with thick tan colored head. It has good retention and decent lacing.

Aroma is enjoyable with vanilla sweetness and roasted maltiness.

Flavor is balanced towards the bitter with strong dark malts, dark coffee, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in bodied but not as creamy as I was hoping for an oatmeal stout. Carbonation is a little high for my tastes.

Overall a delicious stout for someone who likes bitter beer.

 515 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Brown glass. 1 pint 6 fl oz. 2014 vintage. Purchased in Lone Tree, CO. Appealing label art/design. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

1072 O.G. 50 IBUs. 7.2% ABV.

Served chilled into a nonical pint glass. Expectations are above average given the brewery and style. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Gorgeously creamy, thick, and full. Soft-looking and supple. Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing oatmeal stout, but isn't unique or special. Looks more or less as it should.

AROMA: Oats, dark malts, cream, chocolate malts, vanilla, sweet milk chocolate, and lactose sugar. I like that the vanilla isn't overt, and the oat character seems lovely, but it could definitely be more evocative and intricate. Luckily, there's no off-character, overt alcohol, dirty yeast character, etc., and the hop profile (in spite of the ostensible 50 IBUs) is unnoticeable.

Aromatic intensity is mild at most.

TASTE: The vanilla isn't as overt and naked as I expected, and initially I find myself let down, but as I drink I come to appreciate it as a subtle addition to an already successful oatmeal stout. And fairly subtle notes of creme brulee emerge as it comes to temperature. Predictably, the malt backbone is dark malts and chocolate malts. Many oatmeal stouts don't actually have an oat flavour, but this one definitely does, bringing plenty of starchiness to the table. Light on cream. Mildly sweet. I do find some hints of lactose sugar and milk chocolate which are more appropriate for a milk stout than an oatmeal stout.

I certainly like it, but it leaves a lot to be desired - especially in terms of complexity/intricacy, subtlety, and nuance. It's a fairly well balanced brew which will definitely scratch your oatmeal stout itch, but there are absolutely more widely available brews out there that do the style better - and the sweetness/bitterness aspect of the balance is just off. Average duration, depth, and intensity of flavour, with a nice flavour amplitude.

It's not a hoppy brew by any means. No yeast character comes through, nor do any off-notes.

Critically, where's the requisite roasted barley note?

My biggest criticism is it's just too reticent and closed off. Its flavours just aren't that rich or evocative.

TEXTURE: Medium to full-bodied. It features a strange coarseness and dryness - particularly towards the end of the second act - which drags on the palate and frankly defeats the point of an oatmeal stout to begin with; oats are used to render an otherwise coarse and dry stout smooth and wet - like a porter. Not as creamy or soft as would be ideal, but sufficiently both. It's aptly thick and has a good overall presence on the palate. Well-carbonated.

This mouthfeel, while not ideal for the style, does complement the taste nicely, and the unexpected coarseness helps curb the usual slickness of the vanilla. It doesn't elevate the beer and there's definitely work to be done, but it's well-executed.

OVERALL: It hides its ABV well, and it's a nice oatmeal stout, but it does flirt too much with milk stout characteristics for my tastes, while not committing enough to the titular vanilla. It's a nice but unfortunately generic beer in the style from Ninkasi. I won't be buying it again unless it's the only good choice at a subpar bar, but I'm glad I tried it. Might make a nice introduction to the oatmeal stout style, but the discerning drinker will be unimpressed. On the high end of average.

High C

 3,703 characters

Photo of nychas
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

On tap Roof of Wholefoods Brooklyn. I am tasting the vanilla right away with this one. After that is a very good sweetish stout. Has some body, nice and chewy, so not a porter.

 176 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, one of a whole new swath of Ninkasi products to recently broach the Alberta market.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, albeit with prominent basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some stellar sedimentary rock face lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, bready toffee, Cheerios, wet ash, bittersweet cocoa powder, ethereal vegetal vanilla, and burnt-seeming leafy, weedy, and earthy hops. The taste is semi-sweet caramel malt, dark chocolate, natural vanilla, oatmeal porridge, a subtle char, and earthy, leafy, and mildly grassy hops.

The carbonation is fairly low-key, just a minor burbling frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium weight, and generally quite smooth, with a thin creaminess trying hard to be heard. It finishes on the sweet side, the cocoa, caramel, and waning vanilla easily parrying the barbs of any lingering char or party-crashing alcohol.

A tasty stout, both experience enhancers (oats for body, vanilla for flavour) workin' it overtime. It is a tad strange, the vanilla not being associated with its usual barrel friends, but that's ok with me - what we get here is more of the real deal, for what it's worth. Worthy of checking out, if you like the well-made, adulterated (much love) American stouts.

 1,367 characters

Vanilla Oatis from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 631 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.