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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter | Atwater Brewery

527 Reviews
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Atwater Vanilla Java PorterAtwater Vanilla Java Porter

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 527 | Ratings: 1,696
Photo of riversider76
3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Thin white head very little retention and no lacing. Aroma is of roasted coffee and malts.Body is thin and fizzy.Taste is of roasted coffee and vanilla. Not very well balanced. Worth a try barley!

 254 characters

Photo of cindiwindi1025
2.26/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Deep brown-black with fizzy, sodapop-ish head that fades quickly leaving very thin, outside lacing.

S: Smells like burnt coffee. No malt or vanilla picked up in the smell.

T: Tastes like smoky, burnt coffee stench. A little alcohol in the background, no vanilla to speak of, the burnt coffee taste overpowers my tastebuds. The taste does not linger, however.

M: The mouthfeel is watery, very little carbonation, maybe a little alcohol tingle. Not a fizzy feel like the initial appearance after pouring.

D: Ths beer is like drinking what is left in the bottom of a scalded coffee pot with a little astrigent mixed in. I will never drink this again.

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Photo of chriskozma
2.1/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Well this beer certainly sounds good but let me tell ya... it's not. Everything about this beer feels rushed. It's pretty watery for a porter and the flavor is just awful. Some hints of vanilla but it's just so hard to get down with the other awful flavors. Probably the worst beer I've tried in my young beer tasting career.

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Photo of kasper
1.66/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: Pours a dark, dark brown with light tan foamy single finger head, which lacks lacing characteristics.

S: Smells like spent coffee grains, or some unappetizing kind of earthy grains. No vanilla, but bit of trash and some room-temperature organic pea soup from a can.

T: Man this one keeps going downhill. Average sip starts off with some below-average sweet malt before the bottom falls off the beer, and finishes with this awful taste of reused organic coffee grains. It kind of tastes like a Founders Breakfast Stout that sat in your grandmothers basement and had mildew water drip into it before it was re-carbonated just before serving with some ice cubes thrown in. Aftertaste of bitter rubbish.

M: Watery, overcarbonated. Crap.

D: I will not finish this beer. Maybe it was a bad bottle. It tastes like ass.

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Photo of Shumista
2.22/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a plain pint glass. I had never heard of Atwater Block, so I decided to give this a try.
A- The high point of this beer was the pour. Pours a deep dark brown/black with a 1/2 inch tan head.
S- Wow, extremely unappealing aroma. It's hard to describe the different components of the aroma, but this definitely has a funky smell.
T- I get the coffee, no vanilla. It has a odd, burnt over-roasted taste. Not good.
M- Thinner than I expected. Somewhat watery.
D- I don't think I'm even going to finish this one.

I won't be purchasing this again, and I will think twice before trying anything else from Atwater.

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Photo of xenolithic
2.21/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a near jet black with a very small line of toffee colored bubbles that dissipated to a small froth around the outside of my pub glass.

Smells very faintly of vanilla and the coffee comes through as it's cool. Coffee is far more pronounced as the brew warms.

Taste is malty and has some coffee definitely there. It tastes more like a flat cola for me, which is sort of a turn off to the brew, but not really a deal killer.

The body is much thinner than I was expecting for a porter, as other reviewers stated, this is close to watery, which just isn't doing it for me.

I'm going to chalk this up to potentially not the right bottle, but after having a few porters and a few other coffee brews, this is not the greatest out there. The vanilla was lacking for me, and the coffee taste was good, but just didn't mate as well as I would have liked. Perhaps if it had more of a boozy warming sensation to go with the warming I naturally associate with coffee, I'd feel better about it (I hate cold coffee). Just got this on a whim at Beers of the World, and next time I'll know better.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.03/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Single, twelve-ounce bottle just copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
First-ever beer from this Michigan brewery...
Appearance: dark-brown / light-black hue... Minimal creamy, frothy head... Minor lacing...
Smell: Rich coffee... Slight vanilla... Strong malts...
Taste: Despite the name, the overall taste somewhat let me down... I was definitely expecting more vanilla on the tongue... Overall, more or less your basic porter... Medium-bodied mouthfeel... Decent level of drinkability... Nothing too exciting... Doesn't really stand out... Good, but certainly not great...

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Photo of sliverX
2.55/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poored a dark brown/black unable to hold glass to light and see through. Head was about nonexistent and quickly dissipated. Taste as advertised very strong burnt coffee taste with a slight hint of vanilla, unfortunately the taste just isn't pleasant to me. Reading the bottle where it states it's a malt beverage brewed with coffee beans and vanilla extract added seems a bit like cheating to me... personal preference

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
2.41/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Didn't know what to expect from this one. Randomly picked it off the shelf because I really liked the concept of the porter.

A- Dark black color looking something like oil. Dissapointing sized head about the size of my pinky finger. After a few sips, all that was left was the liquid. Also, there was no lacing at all. Some stickiness around the rim of the glass.

S- To be honest, I love coffee. I really do. I drink a ton of coffee per day. This coffee smelled like the coffee grinds that are left over after you brew a pot. I'm not kidding. Wet coffee grinds. Nothing else going on here. Some sweetness. I was not excited to try this as the smell completely turned me off.

T- Burnt coffee and old coffee.Vanilla extract is a reach. Not much chocolate or mocha. This is not good at all. Very watery. Yikes.

M- Overly carbonated, watery, and very thin.

D- Avoid this one. It's just not good. The concept is there but it misses the mark on many different aspects. I was kinda shocked that this one wasn't better. How could you go wrong with coffee and vanilla? This one somehow went wrong.

 1,093 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.27/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Atwater- Vanilla Java Porter

A- Thin black with a finger thick head but quick dissipation. No lacing.
S- Nice dry cocoa powder, oak, vanilla, and bbq sauce.
T- Light sweet cocoa with hints of vanilla, brown sugar, pepper, and oak. Most flavors are light and subdued.
M- Dry and oaky up front with a sweet malty body and a watery weak finish.

Overall- Another Atwater beer thats starts off good but fizzles. Very good aroma and initial sip but is just lacking near the bottom. Worthy of trying though!

 502 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Pours a deep dark dirty copper with at first a large fizzy two and a half inch head that quickly bubbles down into a thinish cap

S: Smells pretty nice, sort of like the Bell's porter, if just a bit more watery. The java and vanilla are there but I sort of feel as though I am being cheated out of something in this aroma, as if the beer is trying to make itself better than it actually is. Smells a bit like Dijon mustard.

T/MF: Again the same problem, hints of coffee and vanilla but more fruity and watery, mild graininess, sort of salty. Tastes almost like Lays potato chips and while that might be a good thing for chips, it's certainly not a good thing for beer.

D: Easy drinking if compared to Miller Lite or other BMC beers, but considering there are so many other excellent porters out there, this beer is an otherwise big disappointment.

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Photo of Bighuge
1.3/5  rDev -60%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A big "psssfffftt" as I uncap it. Usually not a good sign. I pour a half glass of foam with a careful pour. Usually not a good sign. Smells weird. Usually not a good sign. Tastes bad. Definitely not a good sign. No redeeming qualities to this beer. Overcarbonated and astringent. No good tastes. I'm not gonna drink this one.

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.28/5  rDev -60.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - A really thick and creamy brown head installs itself permanently above a viscous black brew with chestnut highlights. A fair amount of spotty lace sticks around after big sheets of foam slide down into the blackness.

S - Bitter black coffee is spiked with what I swear to God smells like Louisiana hot sauce. This oddball combo isn't the best aroma in the world...far from it actually. Pepper and salt.

T - This is honestly pretty foul. That weird Louisiana Hot Sauce note is still there, and this tastes like black peppercorns with sea salt crusted on top.

M - Light bodied, thin, and undercarbonated. This finishes pretty clean and neutral, which is a blessing given the horrid flavor.

D - Never again. This is not good beer.

 736 characters

Photo of ATPete
3.18/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- The vanilla java porter pours a dark brown color with a small tan head.

S- Lots of roasted coffee and chocolate malt in the nose.

T- Smokey in initial flavor with notes of barrel age, im guessing from the vanilla, lots of toasty malts, no real hop character but round enough. Coffee is huge on the finish/ aftertaste.

M- light/medium in body, no where near as chewy as it should be at least. This one was a borderline disappointment.

 452 characters

Photo of mixcat
2.02/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is a pretty bad tasting beer. Its like Java pop soda that went bad and they made beer out of it. We payed $9 for the six pack.. This is not a high end beer nor is it worth $9 I would say its more like a $5 six.. Very different is the best thing I can say about it. I wouldn't bother with it.

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Photo of orcasteve
3.41/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this one is lacking vanilla flavor, in fact i dont taste it at all, i do notice nice dark malt and a strong black coffiee flavor, at the end i notace some hops balanceing this one out. this is disapointang to me, i love coffiee, vanilla and porter so this one had great potential, but the only thing this one does well is the coffiee

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.46/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mahars

A: Super dark brown with 2 fingers of mocha head. Great lacing from top to bottom.

S: More vanilla than coffee. Lots of sweetness came through in the nose. Some hints of chocolate.

T: Again the vanilla dominated. Would of liked to see more coffee in the taste. Very sweet in the finish.

M: Super creamy. Nitro tap did not hurt I am fairly sure.

D: Just had a quick pint. Not bad but not something I would actively seek out again. The Kuhnhenn creme brule java stout is a much better beer if you are looking for something along these lines.

 561 characters

Photo of Siggy125
2.31/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This type of beer is right up my alley, I've had quite a few of these and look forward to trying new ones. Pours a nice light chocolate brown in color, dense tan head fades fairly quick. The coffee taste comes across as more of a bitter instant coffee with mild sweetness. Tried 2-3 sips to adjust to the bitterness and find some vanilla, but no luck. I was disappointed and barely finished the 1 bottle. Sorry, but didn't care for it.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.04/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed it before I jumped the border, again, at Port Huron, MI and sampled this one a few months later. Poured out of the bottle an opaque brown with almost no permeating light. Khaki head one finger thick did not retain well but the lacing was good. Great aroma of bold, Kona coffee, malt sweetness and some vanilla. The flavors were dominated by the espresso-like richness of coffee roasted malt sweetness in the middle and a biter coffee finish again at the end. The vanilla character is hard to discern and was more distinct in the fresh bottles I sampled as opposed to this aged one. The heavy body is punctuated by medium/high carbonation. More one dimensional with time but still quite enjoyable.

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Photo of fdrich29
4/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the few beers I was able to try while serving as a captain of volunteers at the American Beer Fest in Boston. Enjoyed it so much I contacted the brewery and distributors to see if it was available in Massachusetts. Found it at Kappy's in Wellington Circle and grabbed a six pack.

I love a beer that delivers what it advertises. The vanilla extract is very nice, not too sweet or over the top, but provides flavor. The sweetness mixed with the coffee beans makes this a simple, yet special beer. Highly enjoyable beer to drink.

 535 characters

Photo of brushtachio
2.84/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looked nice. Typical of the style. Smell was much too boozy. Vanilla smell was more artificial, extract style rather than a true vanilla bean scent. Taste followed the nose closely. No coffee that i could detect. Very thin, watery mouthfeel. Won't be coming back to this one.

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Photo of biggred1
2.68/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark chestnut brown with a whipped tan head, minimal lacing. Smells of cocoa, coffee and vanilla dominate the nose. Tastes like a sort of coffee soda, highly carbonated and a little too sweet for my taste. Lots of vanilla coffee but not enough beer flavor for me, very faint maltiness and no real hop flavor to speak of. Thin, fizzy mouthfeel, like a vanilla coffee coke. Not my favorite.

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Photo of horshack7
4.56/5  rDev +40.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This bottle of beer wonderfulness pours a an extremely dark garnet with brown hues. On top of that is light foamy tan head about two fingers worth. This is one beer that I could gaze at for a while.

Aromas: A very light hop nose with the coffee and chocolate malts roaming all around. The vanilla beans it's brewed with top off all those scents like a cherry on an ice cream sundae.

Taste: The vanilla erupts from this beer like a volcano that has been resting for a hundred years. The chocolate malts dance around the palate ever so gracefully. It has a smooth texture on the palate with a little hint of crispness.

Notes: This one is so incredible for a cold fall or winter day or night to warm one up rather nicely. Cheers

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Photo of benito
2.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at Mitchell's in Birmingham.

This looks like a porter, but it doesn't walk or talk like a porter. It's brown-black with a nice tan head and low carbonation. The aromas are heavy on vanilla, and the flavor is filled with vanilla sweetness. Coffee comes out more as the beer warms, but there's little to match it or the vanilla in terms of bitterness or malt presence. The spice adjuncts cut into the body of the beer, and leave it fairly watery.

This merges the vanilla and coffee flavors well, but there's virtually no porter-like characteristics left. Maybe there are too many competing flavors going on, but it ends up being more like vanilla-coffee than any beer complemented by those spices. An interesting idea that needs some tweaking.

 751 characters

Photo of danielocean03
2.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a deep blackish-brown with a thick full three fingers of light brown foamy head, very much like a rootbeer float. Smells sweetly of coffee beans, vanilla bean, and cocoa powder. Taste opens to a light watered down coffee flavor, faintest notes of vanilla, sweet maltiness. Has an odd characteristic of a metallic twinge to the tongue, lingers through the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light bodied with moderate carbonation, a little rough on the tongue. Drinkability suffers due to the lack of any strong characteristics that make for a good porter in my book.

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 527 ratings.
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