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 enfield249
2.34/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Great appearance. Dark brown in color, thick full cream colored head. Fades to 1 fingers worth of foam.

S - Coffee, old coffee grounds, sweet maltyness.

T- Coffee, old coffee grounds that comes off as cigarette butts, slight roastyness. Kinda, sorta tastes like Coca-Cola.

M - Thinner then I would have thought, and way way to much carbonation. Very sharp on the tongue.

D - Wouldn't throw it out, but not something I would seek out either. I got it for free, and that is what it's worth.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark, reddish-coffee color without any visible head or lacing.

S: dry coffee mate creamer with a fresh brewed helping of coffee. Some vanilla bean makes a brief appearance along with a light earthy bitterness.

T: fresh coffee, but very weak in nature, considering the promising nose. A slight bitterness with only small traces of dark roasted malting were detected but seemed liked it was watered down at times. The hopping (Goldings) yielded a light spicy and fruity nature and seemed a tad bit out of place per style. Some light lingering coffee notes closes things out but once again was weak, thin and lacked the heartiness I was expecting from a java porter.

M: light-medium in viscosity with an oily texture and a pretty decent bitterness if you let it sit long enough on the tongue. A light tingly carbonation was not enough to bring out much else flavor or mouthwise.

D: Average drinkability, a little thinner and lighter then expected with diminishing hopes deeper into the drink. Somehow thought with the Java labeling in the name this would carry a more roasted nature and was a little disappointed with it overall. On the fence with this one, but was barely worth the price of admission and wouldn't waste my time on a sixpack or go out of my way to recommend it.

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Photo of PonyBar
3.72/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Atwater Block's Vanilla Java Porter. ABV 6%. The pour is smooth, with very low carbonation. A frothy, tan head emerges, then quickly dissipates. A great aroma of roasted coffee beans, with hints of vanilla in the nose. The taste is a little thinner than I was expecting, but with a balanced flavor of malt, coffee, and vanilla, with no noticeable hop bite. I was disappointed when there was no appearance of brewer's lace on the side of my clean 16oz pint glass. This is an easy drinking beer, not the bigger beer I was expecting, based on the unique flavor description on the bottle. I have had a few porters and stouts brewed with coffee beans before, but this was my first beer with vanilla. I could drink a couple of these, before moving onto something else.

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Photo of jwc215
2.56/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours very dark brown/almost black with a tan head that fizzles down to a vanishing patch.

The smell is of slightly burnt coffee and a hint of vanilla - not in an oak way, but in a vanilla extract way (not surprising, as that is what is used). A bit of sour fruitiness is in the back.

The taste is of sweetened, over-roasted/slightly burnt coffee and a touch of sweet vanilla extract balanced by sourish fruitiness. Bitterness more aligned to bitterish coffee than any hop presence - overall, sweet balanced (not very well) by too much roast - burnt - and some sourish notes.

It is on the lighter side of medium-bodied with carbonation that is a bit prickly - almost harsh.

The burnt edges and sourish notes and too much sweetness combine to make this less than desirable for more than one. It somehow manages to stay above "drainpour" for me, and is not "terrible", as it has some potential, I suppose, but I would have no desire to have this again.

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Photo of nick76
1.8/5  rDev -45%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bad, I mean unreasonably bad. The aroma is quite sweet with old coffee, an ash tray, burnt malt, and a tini-tiny bit of vanilla. (whiffing to detect the vanilla was difficult because the cigarette butt smell was making me sick) The appearance is dark red brown with an average tan head. The flavor has all the elements from the aroma plus vegetable stir fry heavy on the bell peppers. The palate is actually smooth but this is one incredibly nasty beer!

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Photo of beckje01
2.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It pours a rich black color with a nice tan head. The nose is malty with a touch of the alcohol, no vanilla coffee standing out in the nose which is disappointing.The taste is good much better as it warms up. Nice depth of flavor to it the vanilla and coffee some out in the end but it takes a bit for you to find those flavors.

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Photo of hopdog
3.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a dark brown color with a larger sized tan head. Aromas roast, coffee, vanilla and very light caramel. Tastes of roast, coffee, and vanilla. Its not a bad beer, but I would have preferred a more in your face coffee presence (especially with Java in the name).

Notes from 5/24/07

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Photo of GRPunk
3.65/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap poured into a pint glass.

A- It poured a dark brown, nearing black, with red hues at the edges and about a 1 finger, tan head that slowly fell to a nice lace.

S- It had a definite vanilla aroma mixed with spent coffee grounds, and some chocolate scents in the background.

T- The vanilla flavor seemed a little forced (almost seeming unnatural) in this one and resulted in an overly sweet beer. There were some coffee notes too, but it was overwhelmingly vanilla.

M- The mouthfeel was a little thinner than I'd generally expect from the style

D- It's not bad as an after-dinner drink as I had it. I wouldn't want to drink one before a meal or more than a pint or two in an evening. It may not be the "best" porter I've had, but it's far from the worst.

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Photo of r00tarded
1.42/5  rDev -56.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I'll make it simple: if you haven't had it, don't.

So many things wrong with this beer on so many different levels. Unbalanced, tastes like burnt coffee grounds or stale coffee, and is a watered-down porter to boot.

Nothing worth trying here in my opinion.

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Photo of iceball585
2.87/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pitch black color, non-transparent, thin white head that faded to a thin ring

S- Dark chocolate, coffee beans, dark malts, hint of vanilla

T- Dark fruits, old burnt coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, milky, smokey

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, bitter start, sweet middle, then watery finish

D- Not worth buying again

This brew has a really funky taste. I'm was suprised to taste this much fruityness in a porter.

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Photo of williamherbert
4.02/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark dark brown, just this side of black. Brown at the edges. Head subsides quickly.

A hint of vanilla over a very stiff, bitter coffee aroma. Burnt with hints of dark raisin and licorice. Vanilla just and accent.

An initial bitter burnt coffee malt bite. A sweet hint of vanilla. Tobacco, dark raisin. A nice bitter, burnt base, with a sweeter, milder end. Pungent and pucker at the end as it warms.

Thick, oily, smooth. A solid stout. Bitter, then sweet, then sour. Quite nice.

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Photo of riversider76
3/5  rDev -8.3%
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!

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
2.26/5  rDev -30.9%
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 -35.8%
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 -49.2%
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 -32.1%
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 -32.4%
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 -7.3%
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 -22%
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 -26.3%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.27/5  rDev 0%
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!

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.85/5  rDev -12.8%
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 -60.2%
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 -60.9%
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.

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Photo of ATPete
3.18/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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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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