Vanilla Porter | Breckenridge Brewery

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Vanilla PorterVanilla Porter
4,269 Ratings
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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Ratings: 4,269 |  Reviews: 1,108
Photo of hammer09
2.39/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had high hopes for this beer, being a fan of porters and thinking that a vanilla flavor would correspond well with the style. Unfortunately, in this case, I think the vanilla detracts from what might have been a good porter.

Appearance is typical of a porter. Deep, dark brown with good head development. However, the head quickly subsides. Aroma exhibits a definite vanilla presence with a slight sourness, but the vanilla smells artificial and not natural. Additional aromas include a hint of esters and mild hop notes. Taste is very sweet (too sweet for my liking) and cloying. The vanilla flavor is present, but does not lend itself well to this beer. As stated above, the vanilla appears artificial. Mouthfeel is warming and acidic with too little carbonation.

Overall, I don't find this very drinkable, and I probably won't purchase this again. I would be interested to know if Breckenridge used vanilla extract or natural vanilla beans when brewing this porter. Based on my observations, I suspect extract. However, I'm not convinced that vanilla wouldn't work with a porter which may lead me to experiment with homebrews using this combination.

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

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is dark brown with a somewhat thin tan head. The head quickly fades, some lace is left as I consume the beer.

Smell: Vanilla beans, although not forced and artificial smelling as some vanilla flavored beers I have had (I'm thinking of one Michelob Celebrate in particular). Some roasted malts as it warms.

Taste: Some good roasted malts, a touch sweet. The vanilla flavor is expected but thankully it is not up front and in you face, dominating the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, moderate in carbonation. Somewhat slick going down.

Drinkability: I was a little worried at first, but this is a drinkable beer. A decent porter with some vanilla flavors. However, I will probably stick with my Empyrean Ales' Darkside Vanilla Porter over this as the Darkside is local, cheaper, and slightly better.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one at Last Chance inDuluth Mn.

Poured a translucent black bodied ale, ruby hued body revealed itself when backlight. A half finger tan coloured head formed on the pour, before subsiding into a sudsy collar of tan coloured lacings. Mildly and finely carbonated.

Vanilla predominates, with much lesser scents of toffee, hazelnut. Roasted barley also there with notes of espresso and chocolate. Mild grassy aromas also present.

Vanilla predominates again, followed by the roasted barley, with flavours of mocha java. Some hazelnut which is nicely complimented by the vanilla, and the toffee undertones are also present. Mild grassy hop bitterness tries to round out the flavours.

Medium bodied, almost well balanced brew. Too much vanilla in this one for my tastes, although the vanilla blast almost subsides as I continue to drink this one. It continues its attempted assault on my taste buds, which are increasing their resistance by trying not to acknowledge the vanilla blast.

This was fairly drinkable, would recommend it to anyone who likes vanilla cola, which thankfully I do. Unfortunately onesided in presentation, with strong flavours of vanilla overwhelming the rest of this beer. Glad I tried it, let me know if they reconfigure this one and use about 1/4 of the vanilla bean in future versions.

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Photo of Vancer
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark and black. Topped by a ivory cap thatis leaving a sticky trail all around. Big ol’ whiff of vanilla, chocolate and malt. Good grief, is this thing rich and creamy, like drinking a chocolate malt shake. It does tend to dry out towards the bottle end. Quite a treat, but for drinkability, it’s a tad on the sweet side. But I guess when you have a porter, and add vanilla – what do you expect? I’d like to have a few more of these, and will keep an eye out for them.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Nearly opaque brown with ruby highlights. A thin light tan heady quickly fizzes to a thin cap. Stringy and spotty lacing.

Light dark malts with a strong vanilla aroma.

A small presence of dark roasty malts, mostly overpowered by the sweet vanilla flavor. Tastes almost like a vanilla coke. The feel is watery with high carbonation, giving it a soda like feel. The finish is mostly dusty grain with some lingering vanilla.

Not bad, but not great. I'm sure many people will find this beer too sweet. Like Vanilla Coke, most of the flavor is with the vanilla and not so much with the original product. There is very little porter to this beer. Still, it's something some may like so it's worth a try.

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

It poured dark with a thin tan head, a healthy look in fact
The smell was very mellow with just a hint of vanilla.
Taste was as the smell predicted with a wee bit of vanilla flavor but not enough distract from the taste of the beer, rather smooth.
I liked this Porter and would purchase it again on occasion.
Paid $6.99 for a growler refill at Liquor Barn Hurstbourne

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Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
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 BuckeyeNation
2.73/5  rDev -25.4%
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 SuperSpy
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark with beautiful ruby highlights. A big, off-white head that shrunk down to a small foamy cap after a few minutes, and some gorgeous lace.

S - Definite vanilla, with some sweet dark malt in the background.

T/M - Lots of creamy smooth vanilla flavor with a sweet finish. A hint of roasted malt but the vanilla really dominates. The rich creamy mouthfeel really helps the vanilla flavor standout.

D - A very drinkable beer, but I honestly don't know that I could drink a lot of this in one sitting. The vanilla is good but after one pint it leaves me wanting some more traditional beer flavors.

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Photo of Bobikel
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep dark brown with a tiny 1/4" head. Lacing is minimal.

Smell - Roasty malts, and funky yeast. Vanilla is quite subdued.

Taste - Bitter malts, combine with the smooth vanilla flavour to create quite an interesting combo. A slight lingering bitterness, rounds out this ale quite nicely.

Mouthfeel - Even with the lighter carbonation, still seems a little thin for a porter.

Drinkability - Great session ale, and a good entry point for your BMC friends... assuming they want to try something else.

Overall - I've had this beer a few times, and it never dissapoints.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Capital Ale House Innsbrook, as part of their steal the glass night - so hey, at least i got a free glass out of it.

Pours a jet black (it is a porter) with minimal head. looks slightly light, definitely not thick or chewy. Very mild vanilla essence. i was worried that flavor would overwhelm, but it didn't. a bit thin on mouthfeel (this seemed to be the trend of this night's session). i think i agree with other reviewers that it is a perfectly drinkable beer,but not one i would drink often.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label is made to look like an old bill, touting the wonders of this vanilla porter. Label indicates the beer was made sometime in October.

Appearance: Pours with a 3/4 inch, creamy, light tan head. This settles slowly into the thinnest of layers of foam. The beer itself is opaque and black, with hints of red around the edges.

Smell: Smell strongly of vanilla and oak. A hint of sweetness.

Taste: Wow, a rich and creamy vanilla flavor, followed by a slight sweetness. Finishes with just a hint of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation.

Drinkability: A flavorful and slightly sweet drink, without being cloying. Not as bitter or full bodied as I expect from a porter, but a good mix nonetheless.

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Photo of jordanmills
3.99/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer knurd at my local spec's who referred me to beeradvocate first asked if I really liked vanilla before he let me carry a six pack off. I do, and honestly there could be more in here. But for the first I've seen of the concept, this rocks.

Pours dark and thick with a good thick head. There's a whole lot of caramelized sugar in the smell, probably enhanced by the significant vanilla scent. Tastes the same too, lots of sweet caramelly (is that a word?) malt, though it could have some more vanilla. Feels slightly thick on the tongue, which is perfect for the taste, but the vanilla and carbonation work together to give it a delightfully sharp nose as you swallow. It's too thick to drink more than a couple at a time, but that's the only thing keeping me from drinking more.

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Photo of uwmgdman
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 12oz bottle pours a very clear, nearly black color with deep ruby hues when held to the light. A thin off-white head formed that had little staying power. There are hints of vanilla in the aroma as well as a low roasted quality. I cannot find much in the way of hop aroma. The flavor of the beer is slightly sweet, the vanilla is a nice accompaniment, but not overwhelming and there appears to be a bit of alcohol warmth at the swallow, which is surprising since the ABV is listed at 4.7%...maybe the roasted grains coming in? There is also a little bit of roasted flavor shining through. The hop bitterness is moderate-low, it provides a nice balance, with little or no hop flavor. The mouthfeel is rather full-bodied, with moderate carbonation and a nice smoothness to the swallow. Overall this is an enjoyable beer. I think taste is very good, the sweetness is enough, but not overwhelming, and the same can be said of the vanilla. I was hoping for a little more in the aroma department, that is probably my only, small criticism. The beer has very good flavor, nice smoothness, and just a little warming quality at the end.

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Photo of biking4beer
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a 1/2 finger rocky/bubbly, tan head. Beer is dark brown to black with red hues at the edges. What you would expect from a porter.

As the name suggest, the first thing you smell is vanilla. A little strong in my opinion, and that made me wonder if this beer would be too sweet. Some slight bitter chocolate aromas. Vanilla overwhelms everything else. That's a little disappointing.

The first thing you taste is . . . vanilla, but it's not as overpowering as the smell. In fact, it's pretty subtle. After warming and getting used to the vanilla smell, the standard porter flavors comes through. Roasted/burnt malts. Dark chocolate. Earthy taste if earthy can have a taste with some pepper thrown in.

A fairly thick mouthfeel. Nice and smooth, but broken up well by a proper level of carbonation. Very drinkable considering the vanilla flavoring (that is from real vanilla beans according to BB). 4.7 ABV helps with the drinkability.

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

On tap at Capital Ale House in downtown Richmond, VA.
A: Coffee colored with nice ruby highlights but pretty dark and a modest tan head, about .5 inch.

S: Aroma from this is pure vanilla bean with a touch of chocolate and nuts. A little sweet.

T: Good vanilla, very sweet, overwhelms any porter flavors, kind of ice creamy. Sort of a lighter milk stout but with vanilla. Does that make sense even?

D: Very easy to drink with a great flavor and not too high on alcohol. I enjoy the lingering vanilla and it could compliment many foods. Would drink this pretty much anytime but there are alot of much better beers that would come first.

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Photo of schusterbauer
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice dark brown, almost black, with a white-ish head. smell is of vanilla, with the smell of porter buried beneath it. taste -- vanilla. too much vanilla. it's not a fake taste, which is a good thing, but it's just so unbalanced. this would be outstanding if it had half, or maybe a third, of the amount of vanilla, brining the other flavors more to the front. the mouthfeel is actually very nice, in my opinion. perfect carbonation level, creamy in the mouth, even feels nice in the throat.

drinkability takes a big hit, due to the unbalanced flavor profile. one of these is a very enjoyable experience, but 12 oz. is enough for quite some time. it definitely doesn't leave you wanting another right away.

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Photo of MDekker
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew hits the glass nearly black, with hints of ruby around the edges. Small amount of off-white head. Decent lacing. The smokey roasted malts stand out in the nose, but vanilla and caramel aromas are present, too. Upon sipping, the taste is pleasant - nothing overpowering, with a somewhat woody flavor. The vanilla certain gives it a unique character, but I don't feel totally fulfilled by it - the finish is bitter enough to make it well-balanced but it's otherwise a little limp. The carbonation and mouthfeel are fine, and it's relatively easy to consume.

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Photo of Brewfan
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bon Bon for the bottle.
Poured at slightly cooler than room temp into my new Smuttynose Big Beer Series Tulip (compliments of Dave84).
Rocky beige head. Lots of large bubbles. Medium retention. Head was gone in 2 minutes. Nice rull ring of lace.
Dark chocolate brown body with ruby highlights.
Sweet, creamy nose. Vanilla and caramel. Slightly burnt sugar. Remember that cotton candy machine at the fair? The one with the hot sugary smell everytime you walked by. Yup, this is it, but fainter. And with a nice maltiness to it.
Big vanilla flavor. This being my first vanilla porter, I wasn't sure what to expect. Creamy vanilla, becoming more bitter as the beer goes on. Not much discernable hops taste. Very malty and sweet.
Not much for carbonation happening here. Medium mouthfeel. Seems to get a little bigger as the beer goes on. Started out rather thin, but ended up bigger towards the end. Hmmmm...
Bitterness starts to show more towards the end. Quite tasty though. Would go GREAT with a creme brulee.

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Photo of whynot44
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coffee colored with nice ruby highlights and a modest tan head that doesn't hang around or produce more trhan a trace of lace.

The aroma is mild and a little hard to pin down - hints of vanilla, chocolate and dark roasted malt.

The taste is a bit more "up front". Sweet vanilla, then a bit of burnt malt, definite chocolate notes. It tastes a bit like cream soda with a dash of coffee. Finishes sweet with lasting vanilla and burnt toast flavor.

Medium bodied, smooth and easy to drink, A bit sweet, but could go well with deserts or just as desert.

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Photo of Brent
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A whiff of artificial vanilla extract in the aroma. Moderate roasted malt body, a touch thin in the mouthfeel. Light, reserved, aromatic vanilla note in the flavor, not as prominent as I expected. Very little sweetness to the beer, another surprise, as I thougth this would be more of a dessert beer. Really a basic porter, with some light vanilla adjunct notes. Nice enough, but not impressive.

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Photo of FlyinFrog06
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- nice rich ruby color that would be expected in most porters. The initially head is thick and creamy, but it disapates rather quickly. However, a nice lacing persists.

S-I didnt' get much smell with this beer. There seems to be a very mild chocolate syrup smell initially, but this fades as a stronger, but not overpowering, vanilla bean smell comes out.

T-Reminds me of the chocolate syrup and vanilla coke. There's a strong vanilla flavor here, but a ricker, chocalty taste balances out the two flavors.

M- As a porter, it could be thicker.

D- A nice beer to have after a long day at work, but it would be difficult to have more than one.

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3.01/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours into a pint glass with a deep blackish brown body and a solid inch of rich tan head that stays well. Nose holds light vanilla tones with a strong backbone of burnt malt. Enters the mouth with a rich mineral like sweetness. But as that settles you start to wonder where the vanilla is. The palate does have a hint of mineral infused vanilla but the real presence is on the finish. Burnt tar like malt glazes the mouthfeel. Needs to be more balanced to increase drinkability.

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Photo of IntriqKen
2.46/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a deep black amber with practically no head that disappears to merely a faint ring.
Aromas are honestly too faint to classify.
Taste is vanilla...definately vanilla to start with ... moving to almost a root beer taste...finishing with sweetness from the amber malts then an unpleasant aftertaste almost like synthetic vanilla.
Mouthfeel is rich and creamy.
Interesting...but probably not again.

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Photo of nortmand
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit of a light pour, with a thin white head. Not overly impressive.

Sweet vanilla notes dominate the smell. There is also a pleasant backdrop of chocolate. Pretty nice.

Nice flavor up front with a light creamy sweetness, but then it changes to an almost astringent cat hair flavor by the back of the tongue.

Medium body, fairly drinkable, but some unpleasant flavors going on.

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Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 4,269 ratings