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Atwater VJ Black | Atwater Brewery

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Atwater VJ BlackAtwater VJ Black
Very Good
220 Ratings
Atwater VJ BlackAtwater VJ Black

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DrDemento456 on 04-09-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 220 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of pavpav12
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of
5/5  rDev +29.5%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of maxwelldeux
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of bassbase
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of chefdaddy18042
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah! Finally an RIS that has the vanilla side of the category. I really enjoyed this brew. Little booziness, lots of vanilla present that completely hits the tongue and matches great with the dark malt flavorings. Had the 2010 batch with I felt was far superior to the 2011 batch. I would say let this one age one year before cracking, the vanilla takes a step back and comes into harmony with the roasted malts that create a beautiful beverage. Definitely case worthy!

 473 characters

Photo of ElevinoFive
4.59/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PorterLambic
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a substantial mocha colored head. Retention is decent and dissipation is a bit noisy but lacing is good.
Smell is great. Roasted malt, molasses, graham cracker, baking chocolate/cocoa, alcohol-soaked oak and some dark fruits. Phenomenal balance. I swear I smell oreos.
Taste is amazing. Semisweet chocolate, molasses, toasted graham crackers, malt, dark fruits and light hops to balance.
Medium-full body, light effervescence. Alcohol presence but nowhere near what you would expect for 11%. Smooth with a slight coating of the tongue and palate. A slight astringency in the finish. This is a very, very good beer. I could drink several of these easily.

 676 characters

Photo of MI_gal616
4.56/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The VJ black is Atwater's Vanilla Java Porter made into an Imperial Stout (more, more, more of everything).

This poured like a beauty into the glass. Small, tan head with great legs on a super robust dark brown, almost black beer.

The smell is what blew me away. Like vanilla extract, super sweet. Normally not what i'd be looking for in a beer, but it smelled so good!

The flavor was rich with roasted coffee, smooth roasted malts, and not nearly as sweet as the nose would suggest. In fact, there was a rather pleasant hop bitterness in the aftertaste that was not present in the initial flavor.

The mouthfeel was medium to full body. Definitely more robust than I expected after reading some reviews of this beer and having a rather watery Vanilla Java Porter earlier this year.

 786 characters

Photo of Lordhelmit
4.54/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Pours dark not quite black more like a very dark very deep mahogany. Persistent head/lacing. Smell was strong but describing it is a bit tough. I always struggle with the nose. Smells good, sweet, pretty much like a Hershey's bar melted inside a vanilla coffee.. Taste is wow. Hits your tongue quite aggressively! Immediately get a dark chocolate flavor that kind of spreads from your tongue to the rest of your mouth and finishes with the same caramel/chocolate taste but with a good bit of bitterness left in your mouth. The bitterness is perfect. What a great balance. This is a great brew,

 605 characters

Photo of wrightst
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had sevaral of Atwater beers, and most seem to target the medium range. This one aims for the smaller, center of the target, which of course, is more rewarding.

It pours very dark brown, nearly black with a tan head. As appealing as that is, surprisingly, I did not drink in the appearance.

The smell was a strong presence of vanilla, which really surprised me, as I was expecting what the label told me to expect, a Russian Imperial Stout. It lead me to do some digging and right here, two reviews down from mine, is the answer - it's a vanilla porter, repurposed as a RIS. If you'd asked me ahead of time, I'd have said two things: I don't think it will work, and try it anyway. I love brewers that will go out on a limb like this.

The flavor was similar, but the vanilla was much less intense. Common for beers with vanilla. The taste was much more in line with an imperial stout, but the vanilla continues to linger. This is one of those high gravity beers (11%) that does not taste it. A feature I like.

It is robust in mouthfeel, but not as hearty as some imperial stouts, and not close to say, triple abbeys or double bocks.

 1,140 characters

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of jtb0608
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of HipHopinHooligan13
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of DaleMcMutt
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of TheBeerDad
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of B0bD0bbselbock
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tumbler pint glass.

A- Deep, dark black with elements of brownish with an amber tinge (under light). Pretty high opacity, and a nice, brownish, two-finger head that receded to about 1/4 finger with medium lacing.

S- Sweet, roasted malty goodness, smelling somewhat like roasted marshmallows and vanilla with a hint of coffee. Kinda reminds of a good chocolate donut, in some sense. I also detect something like sweet, dry roasted peanuts.

T- Wow! The aroma of this beer seems to match up quite a bit in the flavor profile. Its pleasantly sweet, with a bold body of roasted, maybe toasted malts, and a nice chocolaty flavor, with hints of vanilla bean. The alcohol is beautifully hidden.

M- A near full-bodied mouthfeel that i find smooth and silky. Seems to be a bit mildly carbonated.

This one I would highly recommend to those who enjoy the darker side of beers. Being a huge fan of imperial stouts, this one pleases my palate on many levels. Truly a delicious representation of a great style of beer that i tend to enjoy year round, tho Michigan's winter season makes this an even warmer welcome. I found the flavors exciting and deep, captivating even, and the aroma very inviting, sort of flirting with my olfactory senses, which, of course, i went for home base. Very surprisingly, I found this very high 11% ABV so well hidden, that i could easily drink two in a row before i blissfully melt into my chair. I'd like to pair this one side by side with the Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, as they seem like they'd become fast friends. Atwater brewery has truly impressed my brain with this one, and I further convinced that Michigan has some of the greatest breweries in one state. Cheers!

 1,724 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of yergermeister
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of mquinn919
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of agreenman19
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of ShadyJay
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of Lynn
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of TastingRoomCharNtony
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of jnikkel
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

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Atwater VJ Black from Atwater Brewery
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 220 ratings
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