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Vanilla Porter | Breckenridge Brewery

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1,071 Reviews
Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter

Brewed by:
Breckenridge Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and Madagascar grows the perfect ingredient for an extraordinary Porter brewed in Colorado. Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter. An ale that has all the chocolate and roasted nut flavor of a classic Porter, with an enigmatic surprise thrown in for good measure.

Added by Mebuzzard on 01-13-2006

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Reviews: 1,071 | Ratings: 4,083
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.29/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle drank at Freshcraft in Denver, CO.

Pours a semi-clear dark brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to an oily film. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malts and vanilla beans. Taste is of dark roasted malts, vanilla cola, and vanilla extract. This beer has good carbonation with a soda-like crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good porter with some unique vanilla flavors. I would definitely get this one again. My first beer from Breckenridge.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a deep mahogany color with almost no head. smells like vanilla beans, fresh and sweet and potent, faint coffee roasted malt fumes as well. love the taste, super strong vanilla happening, which people have critiqued, but i find it perfect for this beer, a really nice bold falvor without beeing rot your teeth sugary. theres a nice long finish on this one as well, where the flavors continue to evolve. mouthfeel a bit thin for a porter in my book, but other than that a real interesting porter. i could see this in an icecream float! mmm

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Photo of Knapp85
2.75/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was really excited to try this brew until I actually did and wasn't very fond of it. The pour was nice its had a deep dark brown color with a tan colored head. The smell of the beer was lacking something to me... The vanilla. Maybe it's in the taste... Nope, not there either. Where is the vanilla in this? I was so bummed that I wasn't able to get any of that flavor that I probably can't give that much of a legit review. The smell did have a roasted aroma to it though, and the taste had a burnt bitterness to it. The mouthfeel wasn't too thick or anything. Overall just really bummed, I hate when something like this fails to please.

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Photo of metter98
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has only a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two finger high off white head that quickly died down and left rings of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell except that the vanilla flavors are stronger, but not overpowering. There are some hints of roasted malts in the background.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, smooth and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink, but there's nothing really interesting about the taste that would make me want to try this again.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'd guess that BAers will either love this or hate this. Either you like the imense vanilla flavor and lactose quality, or you hate the weak porter presence. Although I find this beer intriguing and aluring, there are some characteristics that will keep me from buying it again. Smells wonderful initially, but follows up with a sweet-stout character without the stout. A fellow BA described this as soured milk...I can't disagree. The Porter part of the beer falls quite weak and a bit grainy. This allows for the lactose creaminess to become too pronounced and sweet. I would like more chocolate and coffee flavors to come from the malt. This would increase the body and keep the lactose from feeling slick and overly milky-sweet. At times the vanilla tastes like true-brewed vanilla beans, and at times tastes like a plastic-y extract and keeps me confused. I want to like it, but can't bring myself to say it with much confidence.

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Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a few shades of brown too light for a porter; looks more like a brown ale; the rocky head retains fairly well and leaves some lacing, too

Smell: Lots of vanilla and toffee elements; pronounced and appealing

Taste: Starts out with plenty of caramel but by mid-palate, the vanilla takes over and dominates; subtle coffee and milk chocolate elements are underneath, and there is a bitter element that appears at the swallow but quickly fades as the vanilla re-asserts itself

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting concept but not something I would want to drink on a frequent basis due to the underlying sweetness

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Photo of biboergosum
3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz pint. You had me at 'Partakable'.

This beer appears a clear, very dark brown hue, with persistent cola highlights, and one svelte finger of loosely foamy, bubbly beige head, which leaves some random island pattern lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of mildly sweet real vanilla, bready caramel malt, a slight lactic sourness, a bit of black licorice, and subtle earthy hops. The taste is is more well blended vanilla extract and caramel malt, a further bit of toffee sweetness, somewhat astringent anise, and understated earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is a bit frothy at its zenith, the body a sturdy medium weight, readily smooth, and duly creamy. It finishes a tad sweet, the vanilla and neutered caramel riding this thing out.

A not overly sweet vanilla porter - hurr-fucking-ah! Balanced, drinkable, and yet still dessert worthy. Easy to see why this is 'Breck's' best-seller.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.2/5  rDev -38%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle: Poured a light black color porter with a medium bubbly head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of light vanilla with some distinctive sour notes. Taste was also dominated by sour notes and light vanilla. Body is really thin with some average carbonation. I don't know if this was infected but it really wasn't appealing to me.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle served into a glass mug in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed live.

A: Four finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention. A dark nontransparent brown colour.

Sm: Nuts, cream, light chocolate, and some smoke. I don't get vanilla, but then me nose is broken. All apologies, lads. A mild strength aroma.

T: Heavy vanilla and cream alongside light subtle chocolate notes. I've never had vanilla as full as it is in this beer. With this much vanilla, it'd be easy to venture into the non-beer territory of cream soda flavours, but it holds up. I'd like more cream on the open. Complex enough. Well built and balanced. Quite fanciful indeed.

Mf: Smooth and wet, complementing the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable. a low ABV, and a decent price (at least in Colorado). I'd definitely have it again, especially if it were on draught.


12.04.14: Highish B-

12.28.14 truncated impressions:

Pours a healthy head which sits for about 3 minutes. Body isn't the opaque black I expected; it's more a very dark amber. Translucent. Odd...

Aroma is of vanilla, caramel, dark malts, cream soda, and chocolate malts. Moderate intensity.

Taste suits the aroma, bringing plenty of soft vanilla notes which are very evocative but could be more genuine; the vanilla character does veer on artificial vanillin here. It's got your usual dark-and-chocolate malt base, but isn't too sweet. Prominent cream soda notes fill it out nicely, and with the chocolate notes make the beer redolent of chocolate milk or a malted shake - an attribute further amplified by its soft, creamy, smooth, wet, and yet full-bodied feel. Aptly carbonated but not too thick. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. I've had far more complex vanilla porters, sure, but this is a great go-to.

I regularly find myself returning to this beer when home in Colorado. It's a vanilla porter, yes, but it's not so much a "dark beer" that it'll turn off fans of lighter fare. That desire to crowd-please may actually be what holds it back from greatness, but as-is it's a damn drinkable vanilla-forward brew with enough flare to keep me coming back to it. Certainly worth trying, but far from world class. I'll have to look for the nitro variant.


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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.83/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

From the Breckenridge sampler pack. Pours a dark mahogany brown, nice little white frothy head to it. Aroma is of very faint vanilla. Taste is really thin, especially for the style which kind of ruins the mouthfeel for me. The vanilla isn't super present, but as the beer warms it shows more. Aftertaste is lackluster and doesn't just come together for me, too sloppy and watered down, and the vanilla feels out of place. The rest of the beers in the sampler pack were good, but I'd pass on this one.

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Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a dark brown color with no head to speak of.

S - Smelled very strongly of vanilla and malt.

T - Tasted mainly of vanill and some malt. As it warmed the vanilla flavor became more subtle and the beer tasted better.

M - It was soft and creamy. Medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very unique beer. At first sip I wasn't sure if I'd like it but it gets better as it warms.

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with some light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of creamy off white head that fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Some sweet roast with lots and lots of vanilla. The vanilla may be a bit artificial, but it's still quite nice. I'm also getting some dark fruit notes.

Taste: Some roast up front. This beer isn't very sweet until the finish. The finish has the sweetness along with the strong vanilla presence. Nothing earth shattering, but not bad.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fluffy, smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The first time I had this beer it was a real eye opener for me. I didn't realize the kind of things you could do with beer. That being said, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lindley Park Filling Station here in Greensboro.Poured into a standard pint a deep dar brown with some ruby hue to it,a thinner but well sustained off white head atop.Big sweet vanilla aromas mixed with some roasted notes,flavors are quite sweet up front with vanilla and molasses flavors, there is a decent drying woddy,earthy finish to keep it from being sweeter than it already is.Not bad but the sweetness up front can be a bit much though.

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Photo of nickfl
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours with one finger of light tan head on top of a slightly hazy, dark brown body with ruby highlights. The foam dissipates pretty quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - An aroma of light toffee and caramel with some roasted malt and chocolate. Some nutty malt and mocha charatcter with perhaps a hint of vanilla.

T - Warm toffee and carmel malt up front with some roasty mocha flavors. Fades to light chocolate in the middle with some light pine hops. The finish is full of very strong toffee with distinct vanilla and butterscotch flavor. The toffee lingers lightly on the palate with a hint of the vanilla.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - I started out liking this, but by the end of the glass the vanilla/butterscotch flavor of the finish has become very cloying and kind of medicinal. There isn't really that much roast character for a porter, and this almost seems like an old ale to me. No freshness date, so I can't comment on the age of the bottle, but based on this sample, I don't think I will be tring this beer again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fizzy 1.5 finger head fades semi slowly with a little lacing, over very dark brown, with a rosy hue.

Nose adds some light roasted malts, a bit of chocolate, tons of vanilla, slight syrupy caramel, that's mostly it, just lots of vanilla, some light roast and chocolate.

Taste is just tons of cheap vanilla flavoring, its like cheap vanilla ice cream with a little bit of porter mixed in, a very light roast and coffee, caramel, a creamy demeanor, but pretty much just cheap vanilla. Finishes a little bitter, but semi sweet, and little bit of minerality.

Mouth is medium bodied, creamy, smooth, and decent carbonation.

It's not bad if you like overpowering vanilla and cheap vanilla ice cream, but nothing special.

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Photo of mothman
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep ruby/brown. Pous a slight tan head and leaves great lacing.

Aroma is of carmel, malts, and the last hint was vanilla. Taste is of overpowering vanilla. Carmel is also mixed in as well.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, after it lingers around, it tastes almost like vanilla vodka.

Overall, this is a very unique beer, not something I would want to try again, but I am glad I got to try it once.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 7/6/2014. Pours crystal clear deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toasted bread, light coffee, cream, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of dark/bready malt and vanilla notes; with solid strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toasted bread, light coffee, cream, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toasted bread, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice balance and robustness of dark/bready malts and vanilla flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.7%. Overall this is a very good vanilla porter. All around good robustness and balance of dark/bready malt and vanilla flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Many of the vanilla porters I've tasted have been over-done with vanilla extract that tends to build on the palate and lead to a nasty finish. This one, however, is at least a little bit more nicely balanced. The vanilla definitely makes it's presence known amidst the mildly roasty, chocolatey, and lightly caramelish character of the malt, but it doesn't cover them up. And it lingers nicely in the finish, without becoming too "artificial". The beer is well made and has a good appearance and head retention. As for drinkability, I still think that the vanilla has to hinder it on a volume scale (ie. it's kind of a one and done beer), and I don't think that it adds enough character and flavor to REALLY make you want to have one (ie. along the lines of a Sam Adam's Triple Bock). However, it's still pleasant enough throughout a single glass, and I'd enjoy having one during a night out with the lads or with dinner. I wonder how this might pair with something like honey-glazed wings, or potato pizza? I think it has the potential to work as more than just a dessert beer. Interesting.

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Photo of chinchill
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served in pint glass

A - about 98% opaque dark brown; scant but lasting tan head.

S - mainly vanilla and malt, with caramel

T - sour + sweet + bitter + malty + vanilla. Finish is light with lasting elements of malt and vanilla. Not a sweet dessert beer; certainly not as sweet as might be expected given the pronounced vanilla in the aroma.

D - nice novelty beer, but not a great choice as a session beer.

M - good carbonation level; perhaps a bit light for a porter

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.73/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Roasted walnut brown on the desktop, maroon with orange highlights when backlit. A golden ecru cap sits atop the beer and begins to deflate as surface bubbles pop! pop! pop! in rapid succession. Better than average lace helps turn this into a pretty good looking porter.

The nose is weak and isn't all that porterish. That's somewhat surprising since the malt bill runs the gamut from pale to caramel to chocolate to black to roasted barley. Precious little of the darker malts were used, I'm guessing. I do appreciate the unmistakable aroma of vanilla, so all is not lost.

Breckenridge went to the trouble to acquire vanilla beans from New Guinea and Madagascar. I guess a blending of the two is required to get exactly the vanilla flavor they're looking for. Why then does it taste like poor quality vanilla extract? Despite the fact that it has a great deal of flavor, I'm not enjoying the beer as much as I was during the first few sips.

It's a little too sweet, with a chocolate and caramal extract flavor. I'm sure the brewery uses quality ingredients, it just doesn't taste like it. Vanilla, which I usually love, is becoming more overpowering as I drink. Good thing the bottle is only twelve ounces.

The body/mouthfeel is both thin and slightly sticky, a combination of characteristics that has always made me think that sugar was added (after fermentation) to a relatively light-bodied beer. It's a fairly unexciting mouthfeel that might have been helped by a few more bubbles. Nah, probably not.

A vanilla porter sounds like something I would enjoy. It's too bad this winter seasonal isn't very good. I have no idea where the fault lies, but the beer tastes fake. Never mind the word 'partakable' along the bottom edge of the label. I won't be partaking of Vanilla Porter ever again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark, dark reddish body with a wispy, off-white head.

Smell: How upsetting. Incredibly weak aroma of sour grains with a tinge of herbaceousness to it.

Taste: Light, sour malt taste with a mild milk chocolate flavor. Only the faintest hint of vanilla crops up midway and lasts into the chocolate water finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Woefully weak and unappealing.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from DrJay courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is smoky and contains strong vanilla and roasted malts with a little bit of caramel & hops in the background.

T: The taste is loaded with vanilla, more so than any other beer that I’ve had. There’s a little bit of caramel, spice and hops in it but they only show up briefly. The malt character is very hearty as you would expect. The after-taste is sweet. Previously, I have disparagingly described other beers as tasting like cream soda. While this beer tastes more like cream soda than those beers that I berated, this one does it well, because it retains taste qualities of beers that the others did not.

M: Very smooth with a decent amount of crispness, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is a little sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling, very good representation of style within the style (while it's listed as an Herbed/Spiced Beer, it probably should be listed as an American Porter), this beer is one I could drink quite a few of until I get too full, but it’s still very good.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Opaque, deep, dark brown color; little to no head.

S: Roasty malts, vanilla.

T: Tasty vanilla right up front, with roasty malts and a bit of coffee in the middle. Finishes sweet and slightly dry.

M: Medium body, not heavy at all.

D: Very tasty. The vanilla is pronounced and very nice.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle that I purchased on my trip up to Ohio. Not really too familar with the Vanilla porter but I thought it looked intresting so i figured I would give it a try. Served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very deep dark brown, almost black with the exception of a touch of light shining through on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Decent amount of head on top, with a nice off white or light tan color that reached a heaight of around two fingers before settling back down and leaving behind a nice film across the top with more then adequate side glass lace.

S - The aroma was very rich and sweet and I was able to pick up on this almost immediatly. A very nice full smell, lots of roasted nuts are in here with a good touch of vanilla as well. Nice sweet caramel aromas and a touch of coffee too, not bad at all.

T - The flavor followed the same course as well. Really nice flavors of coffee and roasted nuts were apparent from the very beginning. These gave way to a nice earthy sweetness with lots of caramel and vanilla coming through here and really pushing the sugar envelope. Finish was nice a touch dry but with a long ligering sweetness.

M - The feel was a little light for a porter but still pretty decent. Lots of carbonation on this one and it was definitly very smooth, that was a definite. Nice somewhat creamy feel in the beginning thinned out as you went on.

D - This was easily a nice session beer for someone with a sweet tooth. Nothing in here that would really detract from having more then one of it. Not bad at all.

Overall I thought this was decent. Nothing really bad about it at all, just nothing here really blew me away really. I could have had another with a doubt. A solid call but its not gonna blow you away.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked a bottle up at Capone's.
Poured into a DFH shaped pint glass cool.

A - A very attractive cola-like brown w/ a 3.5 finger sand colored head that settles slowly. The head is composed of spacious swiss-cheese bubbles and generates copious amounts of lace.

S - A queer, peculier scent,yet very aromatic, like woody root beer. Tinges of vanilla spice and a very creamy aroma. Cake-like and toasted w/ a caramel or creme brulee type scent.

M - Light to med., nutty, carbonated, spiced and smooth with a residual sugar taste that really has flavor. Excellent mouthfeel with light and spiced combined.

T - A wonderful egg cream - meets dunkel lager-like smoothness. Almost too creamy - it wants to be sipped. I take big gulps to get a better taste. The porter ends up tasting like a smore in beer form: Vanilla of marshmallow, Toasted grain of graham cracker, and chocolate of chocolate malt. A very good dessert beer. It doesn't stop being a porter, it seamlessly incorporates the vanilla augmentation into a a pretty tasty porter.

D - I can't say it is the best vanilla beer ever, but a pretty tasty result with the mellow porter flavor. It might be better w/ a tad more porter in flavor, than vanilla IMO, though. Still very drinkable if you are in the mood for a smore or a porter or both.

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Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 4,083 ratings.
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