Vanilla Porter | Breckenridge Brewery

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Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter
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.

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Reviews: 1,146 | Ratings: 4,420
Photo of mentor
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a 1.5 finger light brown head over a pitch liquid. Brown edging when held to light. Smells...uhm...vanillla. Duh. Roasted malts are light behind the rounded vanilla cloud.

Tastes vanilla over mild roast and with a reassuring chocolate. The vanilla is wet, but the malt comes across as dry. The finish is dry. Nice balance in that aspect. Some caramel. The vanilla has an unusual characteristic. Not quite artificial...more of a, fiberous nature.

The aftertaste has an edge I'm not keen about. An off after-taste of vanilla? Light bodies and modestly carbonated. Overall, the vanilla is moderate and in line with the other flavors. Everything mixes quite well and goes down comfortable until the aftertaste.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle a dark brown with red hues and a large head of foam that halves itself in a few minutes but lasts through out the session.

The smell is just what I expected from something calling itself a Vanilla Porter...strong Vanilla notes. <g>

The taste has some roasted malt flavour to it up front but it's overwhelmed by a strong surgence of vanilla that lasts right through to the finish. Now, I don't like cream soda but I do like vanilla ice cream so when I bought this, I was wondering what I would think of this. Not bad.

Bottom line: An interesting variation on the Porter style that I find "not bad" isn't something I'd buy very often. It's just worth a try.

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Photo of Winter
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark brown in color with ruby highlights. Light tan head. Traces of roasted malt are overshadowed by a vanilla frosting aroma that dominates a very sweet nose. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Grainy vanilla sweetness is noticed right away. Hop bitterness and roasted malt flavors trip over each other as the vanilla shoves everything out of the way to remain in the forefront. Finish has some coffee-like roasted bitterness to it.

Vanilla is one of those things, where a little goes a long way. It seems like they could've used a litte less, brought the roasted malt flavor more to the foreground and this would have been a winner. As it stands now, the vanilla is way too sweet and dominating. I don't think I could tolerate more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of briman
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap into standard pint glass.

Poured a dark brown with some ruby hues when held up to the light. Very thin tan head that was gone just about as soon as the server put it on the table.

I didn't detect much in the nose of this beer. If anything, some slight roasted malt aroma, maybe a touch of malt sweetness.

Taste was the same, slightly sweet with touches of roasted malt. Didn't really get the vanilla in the front, but it definately came through in the finish....enough so, that any other flavors seemed to take a back seat.

Medium bodied at best, low carbonation....pretty smooth. Probably a beer I could have one or two of in a sitting. Any more than that might be bit too much sweetness for one session.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.28/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

AP:Dark ruby. Thin brown head. Minimal lace.

AR: Vanilla Extact. Fudge. Lactose. Slight roast.

TST: Artificial and cloying. Take an average porter and dump a bunch of vanilla concentrate into it and walah. Some decent roasted tones surface every now and then but then succumb to the blanket of vanilla extract and sweet cloying malts

MF: Slightly syrupy. Very little carbonation. Medium-full body. Slick.

DK: This is a tough one. 12 ozs will be a feat in and of itself.

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Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a slight umber tone at the edges. Thin capping of light sandy colored smooth foam. Keeps a slim collar throughout and the lacing is minimal in a few spots.

Aroma is dark and rich with a somewhat burnt brown sugar and molasses tang with a dark vanilla sweetness.

Taste is good, perhaps a bit overly sweetened in the front at first, but begins to draw out some as it sits. Flavors are dark and favorably rich and lasting with a doughy, milky center surrounded by its dark vanilla skin. Rounds off nicely into the finish with a milk chcolate tone and a resurrected tang of vanilla and molaases like sweetness with just a very slight note of burnt dryness.

Feel is milky smooth and soft on the palate as it quenches favorably well in a medium statured body. Clean, fresh, and well rounded feel and flavors throughout its stay with just the right amount of bearable sweetness and vanilla. Although this did seem a bit overbearing at first few sips but it tended to mellow off some and was no longer bothersome as it grews on me. The little chocolate push in the finish really helped. Although, as well to mention here, this might not be for everone who thinks of a porter and try this stuff. My take is that its a solid, drinkable little porter thats worth trying out.

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Photo of budgood1
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the bottle a dark brown with ruby and crimson highlights. ample tannish head reduces down to a thin coating which ends up leaving sparse lace. lots of choco and vanilla notes in the nose...really smells like a beer one should have on valentines day with your chocolate treats. really a liquid milky way candy bar. the vanilla is proportioned right to meld nicely with the chocolate covered nougat maltiness. this is nicely balanced, well crafted beer. the mouthfeel is velvety smooth on top of a seemingly light body. finishes lightly creamy smooth with vanilla hints. really sessionable and not too sticky sweet or cloying. i like it and it's worth seeking out for the style.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a very deep and dark mohogany with a lacy head.
the aroma is malty, chocolate and vanilla.
the flavor has malty, chocolate, vanilla,hop spice, with a lingering pleasent after taste.
mouthfeel is nice
this beer has a little to much vanilla flavor for me.

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Photo of ADR
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color and clearish, lets highlights through at the bottom. Skim of a flat head, just dots for lace. Aroma is straightforward, a dash of vanilla but not too exaggerated, especially at first. Mouthfeel seems a bit thinnish to me, not like some others seem to detect, it could use more of a creaminess in my opinion. The flavor is slightly bland, water searching for a flavor, vanilla notes are apparent and not too bad, not as oxidized as some Stoney Creek examples I've had, not as heavy-handed as something like Michelob Celebrate. Finishes a little fuller but with some extra heavy but still hummingbird feeder watery sugariness. Not too bad, if the texture worked out better for me, it would make it more quaffable.

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Photo of Domingo
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Was looking for another Vanilla Porter when I encountered this one from Breckenridge instead.
Pours a dark black color. Reminscent of an imperial stout...very murky. At the same time, something that dark is quite enticing at the same time!
Scent is of vanilla, rum, and molasses. Reminds me of a warm flambe' dessert.
Flavors are everything I hoped for. Bitter chocolate, vanilla highlights, a little bit of alcohol, and (maybe) some hops, but the hop profile is DEFINITELY minimal. I think the bitterness is coming from the chocolate flavors.
Thickness is what you'd want. It's thick and coats the glass like a syrup, but it goes down wonderfully. An ideal dessert drink or solo beer for the evening. There's a little bit of a "salty" flavor in there that actually adds some contrast to the vanilla. It's not actually salt, but it has a similar character.
Drinkability is the main weakness here. Much like other brews of this variety, I doubt I'd ever have more than one or maybe 2. At the same time, I don't think this was ever intended to be a session brew by iteself. It is what it is and it does a good job.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A worthy flavored porter. Pours out to a pitch black color with a large tan head. Some notes of lacing, and a medium low level of carbonation. Aromas are light, some vanilla bean, mild spice and malt, a touch of granola. Taste was pretty good; flavors of full roasted malts, sweet cream, grains, and some vanilla bean made their way to the palate and matched well. Mouthfeel was medium-full bodied, and had a decent amount of consitancy. Lower ABV and good flavor make this a possible session brew for watching sports. This beer kind of borders on "Stout-ville", but it's a good porter however you look at it. Give it a shot, this is among the better flavored beers i've had.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An interesting label on this one, with some obtuse, too-clever-by-half phrasing. Beneath the words "Vanilla Porter", they proclaim: "Seldom Seen. Never Duplicated." Huh? Does that even make sense?
And, bookending the larger body of the design, at top and bottom, two words that try to belong together and prove the writer's great wit, yet fall flat. "Remarkable" ..."Partakable"...oh, partakable a word, even? And, do they know these words don't rhyme, exactly, for that seems their only purpose in pairing them.

Basically, they want to say, "It's different, and you can drink it."
So, let's see about that...

Big vanilla aromatics waft out from first crack of the crown.

Pours out a deep, dark brown, with a sliver of crimson at the sides, a meager, but loyal cocoa / tan head. Good.

Roasty nose, swiftly dominated by sweet vanilla. Light hints of coffee below, glimmers of chocolate. Pleasing, yes, but not overpowering, nor especially outstanding.

Chalky, flaky cocoa feel from the start, like a dusting of chocolate powder...rinses the mouth with a smattering of sweetness, then dashes away. Medium, at best, in body, a bit too light for me...vanilla bean flavor clings to the palate and pushes away the other flavors that may reside in the taste. Gets sweeter as we go in, a bit too much for me, actually.

Probably the best vanilla porter I've tried, but I'm still not crazy about the style.
I like more porter, less vanilla.

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Photo of benito
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The label on the bottle describes this brew as remarkable and partakable. While it may not be either of these things, it is certainly intriguing and worth a try...

A: Black that turns deep garnet when held to direct light. A beautiful half-inch of head that leaves a coffee ice cream-colored foam throughout the pint.

S: Non-descript. No roastiness; in fact, there's almost nothing at all here, and that's what keeps this brew from being great. I guess one might argue that it keeps its secrets until taste...

T: A very difnified and strong vanilla. The flavor is sweet with a slightly tickling (almost salty) finish. A more pronounced bitterness at the end might have rounded this out better; as it is, the sweetness is tasty but cloying.

M: Light-bodied and smooth, which works well with the beer's sweetness. The texture might almost be called watery, but it creates a good balance.

D: Good, but the sweetness might get to me after two pints.

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Photo of hanco005
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I noticed this was new at my local liquor store. Thought I would give it a try as a vanilla brew sound quite intriguing. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A—dark solid brown with ½ head that quickly fizzles to nothing, slight lacing on the glass

S—mild vanilla and roasted coffee scents. Not really smelling anything else.

T—nice vanilla and slight coffee flavors, sweet at the start and finishes just a touch bitter

M—thick, heavy and full-bodied, very little carbonation

D—a nice change to the standard porter. Mild vanilla makes it very drinkable…doubt I could have more than 3, but this is a nice dessert brew.

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Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruddy brown/black with little light penatrating the glass. Tan malt head starts off about 1" deep but drops down to a film. Below average lacing and head retention

Smell: Roasted malt, vanilla not much else

Taste: Sweetness and vanilla notes up front. Some grainy bitterness/leather taste in the middle and slight dryness and more vanilla in the finish

MF: Slighty prickly but not out of balance

Drinkable for 1 or 2 but too sweet past that. Would be great with a brownie. I'd think this would work for me with about 2% more abv. Worth a try when you you sweet tooth is calling

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Photo of jp32
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very black color with dark brown highlights. The foam is a nice khaki-tan color. Aroma is toasted malts, molasses, raisins, and cappuccino. The taste is remarkably strong of vanilla, especially in the finish. The aftertaste really reminds me of vanilla bean cappuccino. Quite a unique flavor. Mouthfeel is nice and the drinkability is great as well. I only have one of these so I dont know if the vanilla taste would get annoying after quite a few. I definitly like this one though. Great job.

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Photo of granger10
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This Breck offering pours a deep reddish brown color with a small yet compact tan head. The head fades to nothing rather quickly.

Something about the aroma I really liked. Maybe it reminds me of smelling something baking while also making coffee. Lots of strong vanilla aromas and espresso roast dominate the smell. There's also some cream and chocolate as well.

The flavors begin more dry and roasty than I was expecting, dry cocoa beans. A sweeter, creamier milk chocolate comes in the middle but right away the dark espresso roasted flavors clean that out. They hold until the vanilla comes towards the finish. The vanilla is dominating with only a bit of cream left. Finish is all vanilla, but it tastes like good vanilla. It doesn't really linger though.

This was a good beer but the vanilla wore my palate down after a bottle. I couldn't see drinking too many of these at all. I bet it would be great poured on some real vanilla bean ice cream.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown, somewhat translucent near the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Vanilla porter. Yeah, a good description, sweet vanilla, dark roasted malt, slightly smokey. A little cocoa for good measure.

Taste: Murky and sweet, the vanilla smoothes everything over, even covering the porter flavors a little bit. Needs to be sharper, it is somewhat a mess of sweet flavors. Not bad, but needs more definition.

Drinkability: An ok beer, I don't know if I would get it again, but a nice dessert beer.

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Photo of RoBotGod
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I call this the rootbeers of beers. Every angle of this beer is pretty good. Great pour, thick and heavy with a small cream like head much like a cream soda. It has almost like a dry coal taste from the beginning. This beer is all about the finish though. The heavy cream taste comes through and a heavy vanilla finish. The thing about the vinnila part is its natural mouth feel to it. It has a real vanilla bean taste. Whether it was a extract or some sort of additive used, it still taste how it should

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Photo of fretlessman71
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pertinent Preliminary Comments: Breckenridge has always been one of those breweries where I tried to like the beer, but in the end always felt a little disappointed. I love the atmosphere of the brewery/brewpub up in Eagle County, and something about being there makes the beers taste better, but save for their Autumn Ale I had last month, I’ve been underwhelmed with their brews. Here’s hoping that this one is up to par with that last one.

APPEARANCE: Jet Black; only the slightest hint of cola brown comes through at the sides when held to very bright light. Tan head – more the color of a good stout – nice tight bubbles that stick around. Spotty lacing – guess it’s not really lace if they’re just spots, huh? Still looks cool.

AROMA: Whoa – do vanilla beans impart an aromatic bitterness? Or maybe I’m smelling hops like none other that I’ve sampled? Interesting. Chocolate and roasted malt with something else that I can only assume is the effect of real vanilla bean. Not as familiar with the vanilla flavor outside McDonald’s shakes – guess I’m in for an edjumacation, hey, boss? Something about the aroma reminds me of the just-cleaned lavatories on commercial airliners – and I have NO idea what that means. Maybe they use real vanilla beans in their sanitizer or something…

FLAVOR: Roasty, dry, bitter chocolate – HEY! There’s the vanilla! And it’s not bad, either. There’s chocolate and vanilla on the tip of the tongue, burnt pizza dough (ever do that?) and coffee grounds in the middle, and just a hint of prunes or dates in the finish which is somewhat less sweet than I would have expected. This is a pretty good balance, and far better than other vanilla porters I’ve had. Hops, as expected, almost nonexistent – just enough there to keep this from turning into a chocolate-vanilla soda float. Vanilla character gets stronger as the beer warms – almost cloying, but still palatable.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to full bodied, okay carbonation. Seems like it was just a tad flat, but I may have poured it too cold so I’ll let it slide.

DRINKABILITY: Surprisingly good, considering I haven’t cared much for Breck’s offerings in the past. And at 4.7% ABV, I could easily get away with a 2nd… but I’d probably opt for something else should I have a 3rd beer of the evening.

OVERALL COMMENTS: Someone’s got their thinking cap screwed on tight over at Breckenridge Brewing – the beers are improving by leaps and bounds. I might have dry hopped it to add a bit of balance to the vanilla, but why add something and then go to lengths to hide it? This is a showcase for the vanilla bean, and it does wonderfully. Next time I’ll see how it is over a scoop of Breyer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.4/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into glass.
Found it at Grapes and Grains in Denver.
This is a good one. I'll have to have more to compare it with Stoney Creek Vanilla Porter. This one has a nice head, perhaps a little thin for a porter. Keeps, but spotty.
Good aroma of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, malt and nuts.
Tastes comes on strong vanilla, but only at first. Typical porter of nuts, chocolate, malt. Coffee taste is the dominate flavor, yet isn't too strong. It says it uses real vanilla beans, and that comes through in the taste. The vanilla is strong, yet in the background.
It's a good beer, but I'll have to drink more to truly get the feel for it.
--update. OK, I've had a six pack. A nice smooth beer. Doesn't linger too long in the back of your mouth. don't drink other beers after this one unless they are big tasting.

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Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 4,420 ratings