Atwater Vanilla Java Porter | Atwater Brewery

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Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ypsifly on 10-21-2006

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Reviews: 538 | Ratings: 1,766
Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy NBS (Week 599), everyone! My first foray of the day will be a rare back-to-back review of the same beer, first from a bottle (boooo!) and then from the almighty CAN (yay!).

Having finished off the bottle, it is time to move on to The CANQuest (tm), where the magic CAN and does occur!

From the CAN: "Beer is Good Enjoy Responsibly"; "We Drink All We CAN and Sell the Rest". That doesn't make sense if you are now selling CANned beers. Sorry.

Man, the Crack! was extra loud in the seeming silence of my kitchen today. The doors are open, there is a light breeze, but traffic is also light, so it is just me, my thoughts & beer. I thought about an inverted Glug, but these pounders are hard to CANtrol! Sure enough, I had no sooner started than it seemed to rush into my glass, forcing me to stop. It settled into a brief two fingers of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head that quickly fell to wisps. Advantage = bottle. Color seemed slightly darker, allowing less light penetration (SRM = > 34, < 44), resulting in cola highlights only at the edges. Here, clarity was impossible to determine. If I am drinking a Porter or a Stout, I want a dark beer! Advantage = CAN. Nose had that familiar vanilla extract scent along with a smoky roastiness that I still do not think that I could blindly identify as coffee (java). Advantage = Draw. Mouthfeel was medium, nowhere near as full as its CANterpart. Advantage = bottle. The taste had a more pronounced bitterness and I could really get more coffee and less vanilla here. This is a tough call. Vanilla gets top billing on the label, but I prefer the bitterness of the coffee as opposed to something that tastes like ice cream. Advantage = CAN (but open for discussion/debate). Finish had a lingering smoky bitterness, which is what I found myself longing for in the bottled version. It comes down to a draw, but each serving style brought different aspects which people may enjoy. I am eager to hear others' thoughts about what they would prefer in such a beer.

From the bottle: "Beer is Good Enjoy Responsibly".

I Pop!ped the cap & gave it a heavy-handed pour, just because it is hot, humid & I am peevish. The foam ballooned up to an immense height before settling into two-plus fingers of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head with quite good retention. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44) with ruby highlights and some light penetration, showing NE-quality clarity. The Vanilla showed up on the nose as a vanilla extract smell. I took the entire gamut of Foods in Home Ec during high school & in baking, we went through a lot of vanilla extract, so I know the smell quite well. As for the Java, it had a roastiness in the nose, but I am not sure that I would have pinpointed it as coffee. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not so much thick as creamy. Speaking of which, the taste reminded me of my parents' favorite flavor of ice cream: Coffee! The coffee and vanilla flavors combined with the creaminess of the mouthfeel to give it, in totality, a evocation of coffee ice cream! Wow. My only knock would be its finish. I was left feeling unfulfilled. The flavors were right and lingering, but it lacked Ooomph!, especially on the finish. It needed more pronounced flavors, ones that would linger & make me long for more of the same, not long for more flavor or intensity.

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Photo of Trashheep
4.96/5  rDev +51.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love the smooth and creamy feel as well as the taste. Nice sweet vanilla flavor from first sip, to last drop. Just sutle hints of coffee,chocolate and caramel. Great change of pace. If your not a porter fan, you may like this beer as the flavors do overpower the porter. Def. would buy more!!!!

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.15/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first Atwater beer.

Vanilla Java Porter pous a deep dark cocoa color with a solid 1 finger head. Ruby highlights on the sides as light hits.

Lots of java/coffee on the nose, bordering on medium roast, shots of cream, caramel, genuine vanilla, and cacao. Some rich milk chocolate also surfaces.

Flavor mirrors the nose quite accurately. Sharp roast coffee notes open up, and the vanilla comes out to play as it soaks through and perseveres to the finish like a vanilla flavored jelly belly jellybean. Some milk chocolate floats around as well, and it all comes together very nicely. It does end a bit sharp with some acidic notes however.

Feel is deeply, madly creamy...with a severe carbonation that breaks through and tickles the throat all the way down. Semi-dry coffee like finish.

This porter does what it sets out to do and that's infuse vanilla, java, and roast malts into a delicious porter beer. Will have again, can't understand the negative reviews.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.96/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Atwater Brewery - Vanilla Java Porter. 4.8% ABV. 3oz sample pour in mini mug.

Look: Deep brown colored body, with minimal tan head.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and toffee on the nose.

Feel: On the lighter side of medium.

Taste: Dark chocolate, roasty coffee, sweet vanilla and toffee.

Overall: Had at the Firkin Fest 2016 in Ashland, KY. Another great beer had at the fest; good and flavorful, even if it was on the thin side.

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Photo of Twotom
2.33/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nothing subtle here, not even sure it tastes like beer. All I get are the adjuncts, coffee and vanilla. I wish the brewers let the malts do more of the work.

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Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.12/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Overall rating of 75?!?! Drank a 13 month old bottle given to me and was pleasantly surprised the amount of flavor coming out of a sub 5% porter. Dark with a fluffy head and a tad thin, which was to be expected. Tons or dark roasted malt, a touch of coffee and chocolate with a little vanilla but bold and beautiful looking for a nearly "session-able" porter.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a muddy/cloudy, dark black appearance.

Overall: Has a aroma of dark chocolate. Flavors include dark chocolate and has smokey tones of coffee, caramel, and a wallop of sweet vanilla. Lingering chocolate and roasted sugary vanilla finish. Well balanced enjoyable but too bland. The flavors in this beer are a little too subdued for me.

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Photo of Stevem68
3.6/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chocolate color with no head. Aroma is roasted coffee. Flavor is very light, you get notes of coffee and vanilla but it is not blended the best and the mouthfeel is very watery. Overall not bad but had much higher hopes and could have been executed way better.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.67/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Meh not bad. The flavor is pretty nice with good vanilla presence, but there was almost no head and the mouthfeel was very watery. It is a good easy drinker, but not something I would have that often.

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Photo of TerryW
3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Some interesting flavours, but no harmony. Just things piled up, one on the other. Not excessively sweet, which is something of a saving grace. Novelty brew, not really memorable though.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.9/5  rDev +49.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

love this beer unique taste of java and vanilla. taste is so irrestiable and makes me want to drink this beer more and more. the smell is so intoxicating as well

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Photo of Sabtos
3.17/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Black, with an initially large, fizzy, soda-like head that fades fairly quickly but can be rehabilitated with a vigorous swirl.

I get medium roast coffee with cream and a little sugar, but more bitter than sweet.

It has a crisp sting on the swallow, also like soda. Light and fizzy. Okay.

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Photo of Smcavoy
3.92/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed straight from 12 oz. bottle. Thin mouthfeel, light carbonation, with a bitter coffee and vanilla finish. As much as I enjoy this beer, It seems too thin and light to be a Porter. For fans of coffee stouts and porters, this beer is definitely worth trying out. It's similar style and taste to Wolaver's Alta Gracia coffee Porter.

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Photo of DDiFran
4.15/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a tan head. Strong vanilla aroma. Taste is all java. Body is a bit thin for a porter, but it gets better as it warms to room temp. Not great but still a very good session porter.

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Photo of tone77
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A thanks to my (seasonally) in person trader, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from as 16 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of vanilla, coffee. Taste is the same, lots of vanilla, coffee, some roasted malts, very easy drinking. Feels medium/light bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.81/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L- nearly black with a thin tan head
S- weak vanilla scent
T- vanilla, faint hint of coffee, but not as strong as I'd hoped for
F- light body, medium carbonation

Overall a pretty good porter, would be better if it was heavier bodied.

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Photo of AndrewCalebRay
3.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Smells and taste the most like coffee out of a lot of porters I have had. You can definitely taste the vanella and the Java. The mouth feel is smooth, almost watery at first, but then I the texture and flavor kicks in. A good mix up for a porter with low ALC content and with a different strong coffee flavor.

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Photo of brandongoblue24
3.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with appealing ruby color around edges. Extremely disappointing head. Lots of vanilla in the nose - it overpowers everything but the slightest hint of coffee. The taste was a bit better; more of the coffee came through. It felt thin, and most of all, artificial.

Overall I gave it a four - despite some technical deficiencies, it was still fairly easy to drink. I thought it did a good job emulating the "feel" of drinking coffee as well.

Address the vanilla issue and we'll talk; until then I don't think I'll be buying it again.

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Photo of predikit
3.56/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, settles in the glass black but brown on the edges. Head dissipated instantly.

Notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla take the aroma.

Taste is a bit odd. It falls flat and lifeless with a stale coffee bitter that doesn't go anywhere, then the other notes start to activate and it comes together for a great finish and aftertaste. The roasted coffee and vanilla make a good combination, makes me want to try adding some to my morning coffee.

Light bodied, fairly smooth, medium carbonation, fairly drinkable.

A slow, stuttering start to a strong finish, this wasn't bad at all.

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Photo of Bvrat5199
4.01/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great taste, color and smell. Is a bit watery for a stout out of the bottle. Had it on nitro and it became an outstanding beer, really changed the feel which is its only downside out of the bottle.

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Photo of ribby
3.1/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The vanilla smell is strong, but it does not blend well with the flavors of this beer. Low carbonation and relatively thin mouth feel. Not really sure how to hop such a beer, I think the trick is to Balance the sweet malt with the vanilla and roasted malt. This is not strongly hopped but still too much for the style. Mostly not malty enough.

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Photo of Slippery_Dud
2.47/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love dark beer. Porters, stouts, brown ales, etc... That being said, I don't think I will be buying this one again. This beer looks and smells great. But it tastes cheap and poorly brewed. It's very sweet which is not always a bad thing, but this tastes like it was sweetened by adding sugar or something to that effect. It tastes artificial. I was actually not very happy with any of the beers from this brewer. I bought a variety pack a few weeks ago. They all had sort of that artificial sort of taste to them. Poorly brewed with additives. When you try new beers, you win some and you lose some... Next.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stemmed ale glass. Pours a dark, coffee-like color with a very modest foam head. Vanilla stands out the most with a noticeable coffee flavor. A little below average for a porter.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.5/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a glass, pours a dark, coffee-like color. Almost no foam head.
Smells like a roasted coffee, with some hints or notes of vanilla.
Tastes a lot like a coffee, as the name implies. Not as strong, but not watery either.
Feels thin, very mild carbonation which explains the lack of a foam head to me.
Overall it's alright, tastes like coffee, didn't get much of a vanilla taste, though I could smell it.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big aroma is the best part. Pours dark with almost no head. Aroma does have vanilla notes amid the coffee. Flavor deteriorates, with just a thin, kinda boring java flavor. Porters should have far more complexity before adding things like coffee or chocolate. This would never stand on its own.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
3.27 out of 5 based on 1,766 ratings.
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