Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter | Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

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Roebling Vanilla Espresso PorterRoebling Vanilla Espresso Porter
445 Ratings
Roebling Vanilla Espresso PorterRoebling Vanilla Espresso Porter

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Ohio, United States

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Roebling Imperial Porter brings together Cincinnati coffee, Ugandan vanilla beans and raw, organic turbinado sugar into a big, rich, chocolate, espresso infused brownie of a beer that is as innovative as its namesake. Rivertown was asked to craft a beer for a community festival in 2011 which celebrated the 145th Birthday of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge linking Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY. This Imperial Porter is inventive, unique, well balanced, strong, and has been created to be as timeless and remarkable as the Roebling Bridge, the man who dreamed big and the community that brought that dream to life.

Added by kirok1999 on 04-24-2011

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 445 |  Reviews: 92
Reviews by Lynch225:
Photo of Lynch225
4/5  rDev +7.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of GOBLIN
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad at all, that being said . . . I wasn't impressed either. About average for the style in every way. Roebling was a able to hold up in feel over the duration of drinking. But with no real depth to this beer it's a one and done for me.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated 2/20/18, poured into North Coast snifter.

Pours a hazelnut color that forms into a deep chocolate brown-black with a skinny milky off-white head of 1/2 finger.

Aroma is faint, but is of roasted barley and light espresso, some faint lactose.

Flavor is sharp espresso, roasted malt, and very faint dark chocolate nibs.

Feel is very roasty, medium bodied, slight creaminess welling up, and a medium to heavy carbonation profile. Ends roasty.

Overall, could use some improvement in the aroma and flavor departments, a bit boring and tasteless. Again though, could be attributed to the age (sitting at 9 months), but usually imperial porters and stouts hold up better than this over time.

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Photo of jsurfs82
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Considering the not so great reviews I was fairly impressed with this beer. I would revisit this beer for sure.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark brown with a 1/2-finger head
S: Lots of vanilla, some coffee bean, a bit of cocoa and chocolate malt
T: Pleasant vanilla/chocolate to open, some coffee on the midpalate but then it turns watery and unpleasant on the finish
M: Initially medium-bodied & smooth but then it turns thin/watery on the finish
O: This had a lot of potential but I almost drain-poured it. I finished it and left my initial notes above since it improved somewhat with air. Good potential but not a repeat buy

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Photo of ichorNet
3.96/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I know nothing about this brewery or this beer, so I'm just gonna dive right in. Housemate got this as part of a Beer of the Month club thing, so I snagged the last one to pour into my glass. Thanks Dan!

Pours a very unassuming semi-clear dark garnet/brown-ish color with a very thin ring of mocha head that sits lazily atop the beer. The color of the beer is a bit lighter than expected and seems to be filtered, and the head itself is pretty boring and surprisingly didn't build up to much at all. A pretty average, unspectacular first impression.

Nose is actually pretty nice with a lot of vanilla cream tamed by a strong-leaning coffee porter base beer. I get some caramel and toffee with mocha cappuccino notes as well. Pretty malt-forward with a definite sweet-leaning aspect. Very slight sniff of ethanol in there; a lot less than expected for almost an 8% beer, to be honest. Most "imperial porters" don't go beyond 7 or 7.5% from my experience, so this is definitely trying to push out some interesting scents and flavors with its slightly-higher ABV. I appreciate this beer a lot from the above-average nose, so it's making up for that weak pour already.

Palate is creamy coffee with chocolate, caramel and vanilla notes though it's all balanced by a somewhat-hefty malt base that seems biased towards roasted barley flavors, especially towards the mid-finish of each sip where the whole thing seems to dry out considerably. I'm really digging the sweetness in the middle of the feel with milky toffee and café au lait coming through big time. This is a far cry from overly-sweet and cloying, however, with an anchoring elements lying in the transition to the finish where I even get a slight kiss of grassy, herbal hops. Solid, to be honest. So far, I'm definitely enjoying this one.

Feel is a bit on the middling side with a light-ish palate featuring low carbonation and a less heavy body than expected. I actually think this benefits from being less roasty and robust than other "coffee porters" mostly due to the coffee coming off less competitive with the roasted malts. Likewise, the addition of vanilla keeps the acidic qualities of the coffee in check, making the whole thing seem more balanced than it probably would otherwise. Pretty good beer. Glad to have tried it.

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Photo of denver10
2.5/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Pours dark brown with minimal khaki head that quickly recedes. Looks like root beer. Aroma is vanilla, some coffee, caramel, some roastiness. Flavor was bad, dominated by some terrible vanilla, IMO. Mouthfeel with quite thin and too effervescent, prickly. Overall, huge miss for me.

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Photo of Bill6151
1.71/5  rDev -54%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A couple years ago this was one of my favorite beers. Then the brewery changed radically and they focused mostly on sours. They also changed (and butchered) this recipe. It is now basically undrinkable.

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Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of tbryan5
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a very sessionable Porter. I got a lot of chocolate cake followed by the bitterness of espresso. This is a very good beer especially for the price point. (At least I think so... I received it in a trade) I like it!

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #77 (June 2013):

LOOK: Opaque, black, decent lacing

SMELL: Heavy vanilla, coffee grounds, earthy, roasted grain, sweet nose, alcohol

TASTE: Sweet, full bodied, assertive vanilla, burnt sugar, cowboy coffee, faint black cherries, brown malt, toasty graininess, mild charcoal, mild esters, feigned sweet finish

A big brew, but not really robust. The flavorings noted are there, but nothing really pops; they do, however, still work well enough without taking away from the fact that this is a Porter. Give it a try—a beer to share, or perhaps it will grow on you … a big Porter with no bite.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque, dark brown in color with 1/3 inch head. Taste is roasted malt, big vanilla, ans espresso. Very creamy. The coffee taste works well with the porter taste and despite the flavoring, this beer still tastes more like beer than coffee--that is a good thing. I would get this again if I wanted a coffee beer.

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Photo of Freehouse
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of HeyYoMar
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of jminch
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Saw this and passed on it while in Cincy this past summer. Pours deep dark nearly black with cola brown highlights, light khaki tan head dwindles quick as the pour. Aroma has hints of Hershey's chocolate syrup, mild coffee roasts, and hints of creamy vanilla character. The chocolate syrup, baker's chocolate combo comes off up front, very sweet for an imperial porter, it's packing a bit of residual sugar. Okay I just read the six pack holder, imported sweet vanilla beans, cold pressed espresso, and raw cane sugars. It's kind of confused, limited malt profile, big alcohol expression, and one sided sweetness from the raw cane sugars. The coffee additions to give it that acrid bitterness that add some balance with the dark roasted malts. It's totally missing something in the backend of the finish, hits hard with the burnt roasts, sweet sugars, and vanilla upfront and it all disappears. Mouthfeel becomes a bit cloying rich residual sugars overwhelm my palate, throw some of this in some whiskey barrels see how it adds to the beer. Overall, first beer from Rivertown I appreciate at all, so that's a complement.

 1,120 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter (and in Sept. 2016 in a tulip glass).

Pours clear reddish-brown but looks nearly black in the glass. Thin, weak head. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: vanilla, dark roasted malts, coffee and hints of smoke and dark chocolate.

The flavor is a bit sweet, and probably seems more so due to the ample use of vanilla, but there is a clear if mild bitterness too, and some coffee a and light smoke in the finish and aftertaste.

O: well crafted and tasty but not quite as robust as an "Imperial Robust Porter" should be.

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Photo of Zonian1
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Adkins1203
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is dark, almost black but that it lets a little brown peek through. The tan head that forms is small but tight, lasts for neither a long or short time, and leaves just enough spotting to be what I would consider slightly above average in appearance.
There's a bit of a roasted malts note going on here, which isn't traditional but that I do like. Otherwise, some dark cocoa nib comes through strongest. There's the faintest touch of vanilla sweetness that is hard for me to get at first. It comes out more strongly as it sits to counter the robust, malty sort of bitterness.
The body isn't as big as it should be, at an average medium, slightly lacking richness and depth as it goes. It may be that it's only got a bit of smoothness to it, that the carbonation is present but doesn't "move," per se, but whatever it is, it could use a bit more. Otherwise, this is the best or close to it that I've tried from Rivertown to memory.

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Photo of Mtooman
3.96/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 445 ratings