Atwater Vanilla Java Porter | Atwater Brewery

538 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 538 | Ratings: 1,766
Photo of Clockwork420
2.89/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Pitch black cream mocha two finger head reduced to one.

Smell was acidic, reminded me of bile or stomach acid. Cold coffee and dark malt.

Cold pressed coffee, smoke and dark malts.

Mouthfeel was thin, and barely carbonated.

Overall the smokey flavor and malts is balanced. But the smell and mouthfeel are seriously lacking. Sort of disappointing.

 351 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Nice black-brown color not allowing any light through, nice!.. Creamy tan head, minimal, though. Lacing is fizzy and average. Aroma is heavy with vanilla with just a small amount of coffee peaking through to the nose. Taste is, once again, heavy on the vanilla extract and somewhat masks the coffee flavor that I was expecting more of. Very creamy with just a touch of wateriness to it. Feels smooth going down and is quite sessionable for a porter. Ok, but not as complex or balanced as I would have expected and wANTED..

 522 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

better than its ratings, but definitely not without its flaws. good not great, kind of what i have gotten from all of the atwater beers i have gotten to drink. the look is nice, almost nitro looking, with a creamy inch of thick light brown head, and a dark but silky shiny body. it smells like heavy vanilla, almost too much, more than is normal, and more extract than anything else.its hard to get too much vanilla in a beer, its such a tasty ingredient, but it comes across contrived here and definitely covers up whatever coffee is in here. full bodied and creamy feeling beer though, i like that aspect, its just the vanilla is candy sweet, and it makes the lushness of this a little less enjoyable. come coffee bitterness in the finish, but not enough to balance, and the chocolate aspect of the roast is also on the sweet side. not bad beer, but i think middle of the pack at best for the style. lacking nuance and balance for sure, but tasty enough, and good enough for very broad appeal. one and done for me though with this level of residual sugar.

 1,057 characters

Photo of synapseprolapse
3.91/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black. Half finger head dissipates quickly
S: Coffee, hint of vanilla, hint of chocolate. Sweet.
T: Sweet, a bit watery, bitter at the end, strong coffee finish.
M: Tingly, a bit thin.
O: Enjoyable, high end of sessionable, and delicious; I enjoyed it much the way someone would enjoy, say, 70% chocolate (letting the flavor linger). Coffee definitely pops at the end and lingers. Vanilla is barely discernible. I would like to see this beer with a bit more body, but it is otherwise well hopped and I enjoyed the flavors. It's heavy in the stomach, and I would only drink one at a time.

 599 characters

Photo of 303beer
4.02/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Gives about a one inch head nice and creamy and dense. The taste is as it is named. Vanilla java porter. Like it. Good job to the brewers. I'll have more of this.

 188 characters

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.5/5  rDev +37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great porter bottle notched at jan 15 poured into a sniffer drank half of it cold taste like vanilla coffe with slight carbonation this is a solid coffe porter

 169 characters

Photo of Bone53
3.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A ton of vanilla, light roasted malts, and a hint of chocolate. Had this on tap after eddy fitz and i should have just stuck with the latter. Not bad though, just doesn't have a chance next to the best

 201 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: deep brown - almost black; 11 finger medium brown head that reeded slowly to a wispy cap; very nice lacing;

S: vanilla is most prominent, with deeply roasted grain and coffee behind it;

T: follows the nose; light bitterness on the finish;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: not all that complex; very thin for the style; also a little light on the bitterness for my taste;

 396 characters

Photo of Yancey82
4.19/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark and thick into a snifter. A half inch of creamy head lingers. It smells delicious and the taste matches.Not sure why the consensus rating is so low. Solid coffee porter

 179 characters

Photo of BryantBeerReview
4.07/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, notched 12/2014. Served in a snifter 2/28/2015.

A- Dark brown color, close to black body with dark amber color. Pours cleanly with minuscule foam and lacing.

S- a floating coffee/ java note, with undertones of sweet vanilla. An overall rich smelling beer.

T- Tastes thin. There is truly a smooth, graceful coffee flavor accented by a hit of vanilla. The beer finishes with a nutty almost earthy porter taste. Reminds of eating me of cappuccino with vanilla cake. It's sweet and light, almost too light for a porter. I wanted more flavor out of this beer.

M- Thin bodied, watery, very drinkable but has no depth to it. I would expect more to a porter.

O- Smells and Tastes wonderful but lacks depth which makes this beer a good choice but there is better out there. When I read vanilla java porter I expected something strong and satisfying but instead I got a beer that I could sit and watch a show with.

 926 characters

Photo of laurellmj
3.96/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I agree with some other reviewers. I really liked this beer and my faves are typically Irish stouts. I found the finish to be much less sweet than the initial aroma, which I must say put me off a tad initially. I've had 4 more since my initial taste in early Feb. 2015. My only suggestion is that you may not want to order this pre-dinner, as it is a sweeter beer.

 364 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, notched 1/2015. Served in a snifter 2/18/2015.

A- Dark brown, close to black body with a frothy one finger offwhite head. Nice retention. No lacing.

S- Fair amount of raw vanilla bean aromas, a bit of coffee, and not a whole lot else. The vanilla is pretty nice, though.

F- Tastes thin, a bit of raw vanilla bean flavour, not much coffee, very little depth to the beer. A mild earthy bitterness on the backend.

M- Thin bodied, watery, very drinkable but has no depth to it. Tradeoffs, I guess- it's pretty low in ABV (4.5% on the bottle) so there's that.

O- Smells good but there isn't not much else that's exceptional about this beer.

 654 characters

Photo of Dana_Campbell
4.04/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I can't figure out why the review on this beer is so low. . .I think it is very tasty and would recommend it to any Stout drinker. I just think to many beer drinkers now a days are sucking on IPA's a little to much and ruining their taste buds.

 246 characters

Photo of Harry-Porter
4.92/5  rDev +50.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have been a big fan of porters and stout beers for the past few months. I love the hints of coffee and the thickness you get from a porter. After drinking this one I think I have found a new favorite. You can absolutely taste the vanilla and the coffee flavor is a little more pronounced than in other porters. The mouth feel is nice and thick an heavy. The smell is almost like that of an Irish coffee. This is a great beer to try if you are a fan of the Leinenkugel's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter.

 503 characters

Photo of BeerConny
4.17/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you like coffee, more specifically vanilla flavored coffee, you will probably like this. I love coffee and this is fairly good. My only problem with this beer is that the flavor is not strong enough. The flavor itself is good but it's a little weak. This is a porter for the wussies! Hardly any bitterness at all. But without judging it for what it is, it's definately not bad.

 380 characters

Photo of shanegatter
3.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Nice vanilla taste, wished it would have been a smooth beer with a vanilla aroma, got tired of it pretty quickly, thought it was better the first time I had it??

 161 characters

Photo of mchegash
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pours an extremely dark red-brown, looks almost black unless you hold it up to a light. About 1.5 fingers of medium-tan head upon initial pour, dissipates down to about half a finger. Overall, a pretty beer.

Smell - 4/5
Strong vanilla smell with some coffee, roasted malts and maybe a hint of alcohol. The smell of the vanilla is really nice, and I was surprised at how pronounced it was in the aroma.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tastes like the smell for the most part. A vanilla flavor mixed with light roasted coffee notes. Moderately sweet. Slightly metallic, especially near the end of the sip. Overall the flavor was nice, though I think slightly less than the aroma (though obviously I'd still prefer to drink this beer then to smell it!).

Mouthfeel - 4/5
This beer is crisp, with a medium-high carbonation level. Medium bodied. Overall a good feel.

Overall - 3.75/5
This is one of the few Atwater brews I actually like. It's a decent brew, and a great value if you're looking for a vanilla/java stout type beer.

 1,029 characters

Photo of Andrew041180
2.7/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I didn't look favorably upon this one. All sorts of head retention and appearance were off on a style that I didn't think could really vary in appearance. It smelled okay. Taste was predominately vanilla, but sortof a fake, superficial vanilla. Feel was thin and oily. No substance. My friend gave me two. I'm not sure what to do with the second.

 353 characters

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

New to trying porters and this is very good. I usually don't like coffee porters/stouts but this is a lighter coffee flavor, but still nice and dark beer. Probably a very personal rating, not so objective.

 205 characters

Photo of vince_arch_beer
3.76/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(Appearance) Very dark, almost black in low light. Mid-20s SRM.

(Smell) Can absolutely smell the vanilla within, but the scent that reigns over all is the roasted malts that show through pretty well, at least to the nostril at first whiff. Very little coffee aroma at first smell, had to go back a few times to actually dig into that scent.

(Taste) Not heavy, which I enjoy because some Porters can overdo their depths. Once again the malts are the primary flavor here only slightly backed by the subtleties of vanilla and a weaker coffee backbone. It's very crisp for a porter, perhaps because it has a relatively low ABV.

(Mouthfeel) Very nice carb. Smooth. Easy to drink, besides the depth of the malts it wouldn't be hard to drink a few of these.

(Overall) Not a bad beer. Definitely not worthy of a case, but for once if I got this in a variety pack as a Porter I think I'd be alright with it. Overall, I do think it's missing some complexity, the vanilla and coffee is certainly subtle (I appreciate that it's not overdone) but it absolutely could have been played up some more.

 1,104 characters

Photo of Ian_B
1.95/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is no porter. This is Pure Darkness, like a black hole that obliterates all enjoyable flavour.

Smells like vanilla water; gross.

Tastes like vanilla water, with maybe a hint of roasted... something... (dare I call that coffee?).

Pretty much the porter equivalent of Bud Light, or worse.

 294 characters

Photo of gotweid
4.5/5  rDev +37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night. No head. Aroma of coffee, vanilla chocolate & malt. Vanilla dominates the taste and the coffee mixes in nicely. Light on hops. Super smooth, rich brew. Wonderful sipping beer.

 191 characters

Photo of DandyD
4.1/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our team really likes this beer. The only thing we've noticed is the batches aren't consistent. Varying amounts of vanilla and coffee. Seems Atwater is trying to find the right balance.

 188 characters

Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled in 10/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear very dark brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, brown bread, vanilla, light nuttiness, light herbal, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and coffee/vanilla spice notes; with decent strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, vanilla, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, light herbal, and toasted earthiness. Light coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, vanilla, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good complexity and solid robustness of dark/roasted malt and vanilla/coffee spice flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very solid spiced porter style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and vanilla/coffee spice flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,456 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.29/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6% abv

Appearance- Black and opaque with a chocolate brown two finger head.

Smell- Hints of chocolate, with vanilla coming through heavily. Roasted coffee bean in there as well.

Taste- Coffee comes in first and lasts through the whole taste profile. Bits of vanilla make their way in as well. It finishes with a dry, roasted coffee bean flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy and creamy in texture.

Overall- A decent porter but the coffee taste is quite strong. If you like coffee beers this would be a good one. I would of liked a little more complexity but it was ok.

 598 characters

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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.