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: 531 | Ratings: 1,722
Photo of Yancey82
4.19/5  rDev +28.5%
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

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Photo of BryantBeerReview
4.07/5  rDev +24.8%
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.

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Photo of laurellmj
3.96/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.33/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of Dana_Campbell
4.04/5  rDev +23.9%
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.

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Photo of Harry-Porter
4.92/5  rDev +50.9%
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.

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Photo of BeerConny
4.17/5  rDev +27.9%
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.

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Photo of shanegatter
3.4/5  rDev +4.3%
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??

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Photo of mchegash
3.88/5  rDev +19%
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.

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Photo of Andrew041180
2.7/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

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Photo of Grichard
4.15/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

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Photo of vince_arch_beer
3.76/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of Ian_B
1.95/5  rDev -40.2%
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.

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Photo of gotweid
4.5/5  rDev +38%
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.

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Photo of DandyD
4.1/5  rDev +25.8%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.29/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +22.7%

Poured a dark black body with a thin tan head.
Aroma has a roasty malt smell to it.
the taste has a nice vanilla taste followed by some roast notes and a little chocolate.
the mouthfeel is a little weak but overall very tastym

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a very dark ruby color - just a little leakage around the edges. Persistent tan head. Initial impression is, uh, coffee and vanilla. Mouthfeel is quite smooth but a little thin. Very smooth finish. Quite drinkable but not a world-changer.

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Photo of Juleshick
4.25/5  rDev +30.4%

I've had really good experiences with this beer, despite reviews about poor quality control. This is a nice rich beer with a great coffee after taste that isn't too overpowering.

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Photo of PiyushAgarwal
3/5  rDev -8%

Had the same experience as DannyMick131. The first bottle I opened was pretty awful... extremely bitter and turned me off the beer..(almost was tempted to just chuck the 6-pack but that would be an abuse of alcohol. Realized I still had 5 left today, so opened a 2nd one and this one was much better. Lack of quality control I suppose? We'll see how the rest turn out.

Tastes like a vanilla infused dark roast (almost overburnt coffee really..) but otherwise it's alright.

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Photo of DannyMick131
2.75/5  rDev -15.6%

Eh. 1 out of the first 5 of the case was bad, like rotten milk bad. The bottle seemed sealed if I remember correctly, but it was off by far. I had a few that tasted pretty solid. Another go at the case on a different night had me pour out 3 of them because they seemed flat/tasteless. Of the ones that seem ok, the mouth feel is a bit watery. Vanilla extract is prominent. Coffee? I don't taste much coffee, maybe it is the base and the vanilla is up front, I don't know. I am concerned with what I feel is a lack of consistency bottle to bottle. If I didn't waste so many already, I'd probably return the case, although I have never had to do that before. If I had to give advice, I'd say avoid it. The best I have tasted in this category is Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is also solid, but no coffee there.

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Photo of rangahy
3.75/5  rDev +15%

Pretty good for a coffee porter. I'm usually not a coffee beer guy. I like coffee and I like beer, but usually the two shant mix. This is a decent malty beer, goes down smooth. My one complaint would be the lack of ...robust... flavor. It was in the single digits with a nasty wind chill. I could have had something a bit more warming.

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Photo of scotorum
3.96/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

a:Opaque black with brown highlights when seen through light. Finger thick tan head receded to spotty surface foam and slight spotty lacing.

s: Vanilla and coffee as advertised.

t: Follows the nose. Very pleasant!

m: Light to moderate, good body, some carbonation tingle.

o: An enjoyable cafe latte brew, the vanilla and coffee flavors mask any porter smoke.

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Photo of dmgeng
3/5  rDev -8%

Trying to decide if I want to add vanilla and coffee to my homebrew and figured it'd be best to sample a commercial form first.

A - Deep brown color. Slightly cloudy. Light brown head with medium staying power and large bubbles. Medium to light lacing.

S - Muddled porter character with some chocolate, roastiness, and some cold coffee.

T - The beer has a very mixed flavor and not doing it very well. You can tell it is a dark beer from the burnt chocolate and light coffee tones. Its sweet in the middle with the vanilla but it isn't clean and doesn't pop as a good vanilla character should. Mostly the taste of old Folger's coffe is the predominant flavor with some porter flavors after the fact.
M - Light to medium mouth-feel. Light to moderate carbonation. Not too much body and not very clean on the finish.

Overall, not a very good craft beer. It just seemed dirty and not any delicious flavors came through. Unfortunately I wouldn't recommend this beer.

Glass- Stout glass

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Atwater Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery
3.26 out of 5 based on 1,722 ratings.
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