Vanilla Porter | Breckenridge Brewery

1,074 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: 1,074 | Ratings: 4,116
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 hiikeeba
3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours up a deep mahogany color with an off white head that lingers a while.
S: Vanilla aroma is prominent, with some chocolate notes. A hint of malt.
T: Malty and vanilla -y. Malts start off slightly roasty, move towards chocolate, and the vanilla takes over. Almost cake like. Finishes bitter at the back of the tongue.
M: Nothing remarkable. It's not thin, and the CO2 livens up what could be a dense beer.
D: I sampled this first at the Brewpub by Coors field in Denver. It was ambrosia! Peter, my new friend from Australia, and I exchanged raised eyebrows and smiles when we tasted it. From the bottle? The malt is strong, and the beer isn't as smooth and delightful and when it's on tap. Don't get me wrong. I ration this stuff. I can't get in my hometown. But I like it better on tap.

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Photo of Strix
2.03/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Smell is weak, but mainly vanilla. Taste is unremarkable. The main flavor is vanilla, with some alcohol taste, but it is otherwise flat. Aftertaste turns a bit like cough syrup. Too sweet for me I guess. Not much carbonation, and mouthfeel is smooth, but thinner than I'd like. Not my thing. Overall, I'm disappointed.

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Photo of TwistedRaisin
2.7/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The smell of the beer is distinctly vanilla from the very first whiff. The taste that follows is only what you'd expect after the first sniff, extremely vanilla, and I'd say cloyingly so. It very much overpowers the smoky taste that I've come to expect from most american porters. That flavor is there in the aftertaste, which makes sense as it almost seems to be an afterthought.

The beer itself does not have the full mouth feel I expect from porters, and is somewhat disappointing in that regard.

The beer itself looks good, and has the appearance one would expect from a porter - a dark brown body with a creamy head, though the head is a bit lacking.

Personally, I think the beer is overly sweet, focusing too much on the vanilla and not enough on the entire brew. That's not to say it isn't enjoyable in its own way, but it seems overly expensive for the quality.

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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 livin4jc
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled 9/1/07
Bottled 3rd week of July 2007
Bottle from T-Birds, Plainfield, IL

Cola colored maroon brown color, decent vanilla colored head that settles slowly. Lace residue.

Strong vanilla aroma. Hints of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

This is a dessert beer. I could not imagine drinking it with anything food related. I also couldn’t imagine more than one serving per session

Good moutfeel, very smooth. Not heavily carbonated.

You can tell this is a strong porter. The major flavor is vanilla, yet you can taste hints of chocolate and coffee beans.

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Photo of AndoBrew
2.71/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

*did not mind would not buy

app: looks nice, deep port lookin beer with slmost no head, looks expensive.

smell: smells of mild dark malts and some produce. lil bit of fall spice.. not much of the lable in the smell.

taste: does have a very plant like flavor, lil bit of root flavor.. tastes more like a sour malt weak root beer than a vanilla porter. this is not remarkable.

mf: thin.. normal.

drinkable?: if you need some booze sure. not otherwise.

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Photo of beavers
2.99/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured cool from a bottle into a nonic pint glass.
A:Pours a somewhat dark brown, yet slightly amber that isn't opaque at all. Head is about half a finger and leaves quickly. Not too much lacing going on here. Doesn't seem to have to porter appearance.
S:Pretty faint smell for a porter: with cocoa, vanilla, maybe caramel notes with alcohol just barely present.
T: Taste is very similar to the smell. Still a weak taste of chocolate malts, vanilla, quick hop flavor in the forefront. Very little, if any, residual flavors.
M: Definitely not enough carbonation in this brew...not bottling date, but it was just shelved, so. Missing the depth and complexity of a true porter in the mouthfeel.

This, to me, tastes more like a less memorable chocolate stout with vanilla notes than a porter--be a vanilla porter or not. Overall it tastes like a beer that just got halfway there--but didn't follow whatever direction it was taking.

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Photo of jdubjacket
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a bottle. Minimal lacing. Head dissipates quickly. Colors is almost amber - almost too light to be a true porter. Smell is muddled and unremarkable. Smells mostly like alcohol. Taste is probably the most disappointing part of this beer. Doesn't taste like porter. Tastes very little like vanilla. Overall, the taste is bland. Mouthfeel is watery unlike the traditional porter. Drinkability is average since the beer has little taste and is not too heavy.

This beer was a big disappointment considering all the hype I've read.

EDIT: I tried this beer again, and I think I had a bad bottle the 1st time. The beer has a very creamy mouthfeel and the vanilla jumps out at you. However, the taste is only OK. Tasted a little like cough medicine and you can only have one of these at a time.

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Photo of athensbeermaster
2.57/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This porter poured a small head. The nose had a small hint a vanilla and roasted malts. The mouthfeel was thin and weak. I was expecting even more than a regular porter with all the hype of the real vanilla beans. But this beer was to thin to be a good porter.
A small hint of vanilla and some waterdown malts. I wish Bert Grant was still alive to make the real deal "Perfect Porter" !
Big let down

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Photo of scaliasux
2.52/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Dark brown with maybe just a hint of red. Nearly opaque, but appears clear. Short, but durable light tan head.

Smell - Rather light almost indistinct. Most prominent odor is light vanilla.

Taste - Dark, quite sweet malt with mild/moderate vanilla flavor. Even cloying.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied.

Drinkability - It's nice that the vanilla doesn't overwhelm this beer like is the case with too many flavored beers. The sweetness of this beer is a little too much for me, though.

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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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Photo of templar316
3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours nicely though a thicker head would be nice this would be an excellent candidate for the nitrogen widget, as the head on this faded rather fast. The color shows in nice deep ruby when held up to the light. The vanilla is definately apparent in the smell, and you know that you have to be fan to enjoy the beer. It's perfect as an after dinner beer, sweet, creamy, rich. The vanilla hits first, probably because of the smell, then caramel and chocolate malts follow, ending with a sweet creamy finish. Perfect for after dinner, though a little sweet to drink all night.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deeply black with a ruby tint, as the thin head reduces to a crown rather quickly. Some lace is left as the beer disappears.

Aroma gives vanilla (surprise!), cocoa, cinnamon and cookie dough.

Taste: This is just crammed with vanilla. Good thing, because I love vanilla. It's a remarkably rich porter, so the creamy mouthfeel takes its dessert elements and capitalizes them. There's a bit of gooey chocolate here too, in taste and mouthfeel. Finish brings in some burnt chocolate and coffee beans, so it doesn't entirely forget about being a porter.

And about that mouthfeel: it's amazing; the best part of this beer. Smooth, buttery, gooey, slick...more dessert than beer. At just the right temperature (after about 1/2 hour out of the fridge) it's close to a "5".

If it's drank too cold it reminds of vanilla cola or root beer. It's not everyday beer material, but still, it's pretty great if you like vanilla. Good freakin' luck trying to pair it with anything but an equally indulgent dessert.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.9/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Brew poured an attractive deep black with a nice clean smooth head. Aromas were of roasted coffee malts and a big vanilla presence was noted. Mouthfeel was great- nice and smooth, cooling to the palate. The taste was not up to par however- the vanilla was way too overpowering and destroyed the nice subtle flavors of the well-brewed malts. This brew would be refreshing if the vanilla was somehow balanced by some hop flavor or more roasted coffee form the malts. As it is now it is too sweet- vanilla should be a note, not the whole symphony. I cant really imagine being able to pair this brew with much of anything- but it may be good for some irish car bomb fodder.

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

This was plesant. Appearnce was very dark, like drinking a pepsi. Decent head, didn't stick around too long. Smell was dominated by vinilla, as was the taste, with a sligh chocolate, and a little nutty coffee as well. Not overwhelming, but I would buy again, a nice, differant porter.

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Photo of Riggsy
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into Nonic pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, ruby highlights show off when held up to the light. A thin creamy beige head forms, falls quickly to a surface film which stays throughout.

Complex aroma of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Vanilla is pretty powerful which some might find off putting but I found it pretty pleasant.

Vanilla and an almost cloying sweetness dominate the flavor. Some chocolate and coffee in the background. The sweetness took away from this but would still be real good as a dessert beer.

Mouthfeel is full and thick, like syrup. Not much carbonation, some more might make it less heavy on the tongue.

Nice dessert beer, but wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of arizcards
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle in early April from AJ's for $1.59.

Beer poured a dark brown with little to no head. Nose is a pleasant aroma of vanilla and nothing much else. Taste is unbalanced, very heavy on the vanilla flavoring but not enough hop action to balance this out. Mouthfeel is very nice, extremely creamy and medium bodied. Drinkability is OK, but one is enough as this is too sweet. Fun to try and is worth a shot.

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Photo of StargherKing
4.31/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really looking forward to this one...after Breckenridge's amazing oatmeal stout, here's hoping I'm not let down. Pours a dark mahogony, almost black. Fluffy white head that slowly settles...beautiful. Smell is porter...hops and malt, coffee and cocoa, and of course, just a bit of vanilla. Taste is very similar, the hops fall to the back, with the coffee and vanilla coming out forefront. Not nearly as much vanilla as I thought, but it's certainly there. Mouthfeel is very nice, a little creamy, not overpoweringly so, very nice. Drinkability is amazing, but I have to admit that may be in part because the beer I drank before this wasn't quite as easy going down. I'll try this one again.

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Photo of crayphish
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This vanilla porter poured a deep dark brown. A small light brown head reduces quickly, some lacing left behind. Smell is vanilla cream, some subdued roasted elements as well. Taste is classic porter with the obvious vanilla element. The vanilla seemed to be more of an after taste, I'd have preferred it to be up front.The vanilla seems a bit too sweet, but is tempered by a hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and light. I found this porter fairly drinkable. An interesting brew indeed.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears a cola brown caramel hue head simply billows above the rim of the glass tan light beige head color with great retention lacing spreads evenly around my pint. Aromatics powderd cocoa mild coffee tones vanilla cream air as well good mix mild herbal hop flow pretty straight forward a little ripe fruit notes peaking through as well. Flavor wise heavy vanilla extract tones among some dark chocolate roastiness but the sweetness is too much completely overbears the natural porter qualities hard to detect the hops with all that extract a flowing. Mouthfeel is medium bodied creamy carbonation definitely feels silky on the palate pretty good feel to it. Drinkability is a bit rough with all of that cloying vanilla extract going on in this brew I'm just not into it can't for see trying this one again.

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Photo of atsprings
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice black that showed ruby highlights when held up to light. There was a thin off-white head that slowly diminished. The aroma was was a good blend of chocolate and black malts with vanilla coming through nicely. The taste was vanilla dominating the usual Porter flavors that were lingering in the background. The taste balance provided a nice smoothness that made this a very enjoyable Porter on a hot Summer afternoon. This is a very enjoyable beer that I'm certain I'll enjoy even more this Winter.

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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 beeragent
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep brown, forming a very thin mocha head. Very few spots of lace. The aroma is dominated by the vanilla with slight notes of roasted barley coming through. The taste is also heavily dominated by the vanilla. A light coffee/chocolate flavor is present, but most of it is swept up by the vanilla. Medium bodied mouthfeel, and smooth finish. Good abv. and decent flavor can make this a sessionable ale, if you like your beer sweet. Overall, I thought that the porter qualities and the vanilla just were not a good combination. It makes for an interesting flavor combination, but not enough of the porter flavor was apparent. Maybe if a little less vanilla was used? Dont get me wrong, some beer styles benefit from vanilla being added (I love the Vanilla Creme Ale from Blackhorse), but IMO it doesnt work as well here. Just my two cents. Maybe I just need to try it more often, and let it grow on me. To be reviewed again...

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Photo of tastybeer
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks very dark. Deep woody, red color as light sneaks through. Head is a light beige, not that large, but does leave nice looking bits of lace. Smells light and creamy, with definite, but not overpowering vanilla, and fruit underneath. Malts taste toffee and caramel. Not an amazing aroma but enjoyable and pleasant. Taste is more interesting. Good malts, with obvious creamy vanilla and some pleasant smoky, meat seasoning-like flavors. The spicing fits in very soothingly with the vanilla. Certainly not overly vanilla like some other vanilla porters, or other styles that involve vanilla. Very pleasant. Not complex. easy going, and enjoyable. Texture is satiny and smooth. Just enough carbonation mixed in too. Very drinkable in my book.

A pleasant porter with some interestingly pleasant and likable things going on. Not cloying by any means either.

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Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 4,116 ratings.
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