Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter | Rivertown Brewing Co.

82 Reviews
Read the review
Roebling Vanilla Espresso PorterRoebling Vanilla Espresso Porter

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: American 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 419
Photo of cbutova
2.44/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

A- Almost midnight black pour to a stemless wine glass. A tan cap forms to a mm high with a foamy texture. A small ring forms but no lace is left behind.

S- Vanilla bean and cola. A touch of roast barley, coffee, more cola, toasted nuts and a hint of dark fruits like cherry.

T- Even more like vanilla cola at this point. Just spit on with an almost earthy spiciness. A hint of cocoa, stale espresso beans and toast as well. Really just mild for an Imperial porter. Rather sweet approaching cloying.

MF- Slick and medium bodied with a very low end carbonation. Feels a bit watery.

Cola with a hint of vanilla and a touch of espresso.

 637 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My first Rivertown Brewing offering - I'm a bit mixed on it...

Being of Cuban decent, espresso is something I can relate to. When I see it I gravitate and give it a try. Seldom do I come across an espresso laced beer that I can warm up to, and this offering from Roebling is no exception. (Full disclosure, I like my espresso sweet and seldom do I come across any sweetly laced espresso beers.)

Out of the bottle it pour a richly dark porter, though no head or lacing to mention. The mouthfeel is light, little carbonation, and has a spicy tingle to it - unique, certainly. Though I could taste the vanilla distinctly (something missing from many a vanilla porter or stout I've come across) the brew itself was uninspired. It was decent, maybe even good, but just not something I would reach for the next time I crossed paths with it in the hallowed beer aisle.

 869 characters

Photo of daytonflyer
4.01/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As a Cincinnatian, Rivertown often takes a backseat to Madtree, Rhinegeist, and even Mount Carmel, but Roebling has long been one of my staples. First tried on tap at Archer's Tavern in Centerville, which itself is highly recommended ... they feature a newly tapped craft brew and food pairing every Wednesday.

A long-time Guinness and milk stout fan, Roebling was my first Imperial Porter. The recipe was changed along the way to introduce Espresso, though it's very subtle compared to some coffee crafts. It pours near black but isn't too heavy. It has a smooth mouthfeel with vanilla notes. I prefer it to Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, but my palette has shifted and I now find Roebling almost too mild. I served it at my wedding to rave reviews from dark beer lovers like myself.

It can often be found at $9.99 for 6-12 oz, which is a great value for a 7.8% ABV craft imperial. If you like a full-bodied stout or porter, give Roebling a try.

 953 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear dark cola-brown with a slight cap of tan head that vanishes rapidly leaving no lacing. Scents of vanilla, coffee, toffee, and caramel. Taste although somewhat hard to pin-point, appears to follows nose. Very intrresting brew.

 239 characters

Photo of ichorNet
3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

 2,293 characters

Photo of tbryan5
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
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!

 222 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/30/2016 at Jillian’s Sports Pub & Grill in Somerset, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains coffee, roasted malts, some chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong espresso flavor along with some chocolate and some licorice but not much vanilla. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in as well as some lactose. The hops presence is very mild as it should be in this type of beer and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while for a if you’re in the mood for the style.

 922 characters

Photo of Tone
3.52/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color. 1/5 inch head of an off-tan color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, roasted malt, piney hops, alcohol, and a hint of chocolate. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, piney hops, alcohol, hint of vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, weak appearance, vanilla is subtle, and the espresso is indistinct.

 461 characters

Photo of lwillitz
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12-oz bottle into porter/stout glass

A - 1 finger of medium tan over a body of pitch black with ruby highlights

S - coffee, vanilla, hints of dark fruit, roast malts; not very strong (good quality, lacking quantity)

T - coffee, vanilla, smoke/roast malts, dark fruits, sweet finish

M - smooth, lighter end of medium-bodied, medium carbonation

O - It is what it is meant to be. Roebling is decent for a sweet porter.

 422 characters

Photo of Maestro0708
3.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Dark brown, thin head that dissipates fast.
Smell: Vanilla and coffee
Taste: Strong vanilla extract sort of taste, coffee notes, a bit too sweet at times for my taste.
Feel: Thinner than I prefer.

Overall: I took a shot with this one because I love porters and coffee beers, and it's not bad, but too strong on the vanilla side and very sweet. Not my favorite but worth trying.

 384 characters

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

 319 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown almost black color with khaki colored head. Vanilla, espresso roast coffee, and dark chocolate on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied, thin for an imperial porter. Finishes with vanilla sweetness and espresso coffee.

 256 characters

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.95/5  rDev +37.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

very vanillay beer and this beer will get you messed up in a hurry. one of the best porters i can find in the state of ohio. i recommend this beer to try

 154 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Cola brown with a fleeting off-white fizzy head.

Smell is cola, banana, coconut, brown sugar, with light chocolate and coffee.

Taste is chocolate covered banana and light on everything else-light roasted malt and coffee, and vanilla wafer.

Feel is thin and fizzy.

 266 characters

Photo of schoolboy
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This brewery has been hit or miss with me, with the more out of the ordinary brews being interesting and pretty tasty. This one is just OK - many others of this style are much more spectacular.

It's expectedly brown. The head is very thin and there isn't a lot bubble production. The aroma is a mild coffee smell with sweet ale hops and yeast. The taste takes off with loads of coffee and malts and booze. You can taste nice bitters too. It's a decent balance. The aftertaste is boozy with your coffee.

The whole experience continued to improve as this warmed. Enough so that I raised my ratings and give this a hearty recommendation. Delicious.

 648 characters

Photo of awdlmd
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is dark with virtually zero head. Taste comes on strong with sweet vanilla and sugar then finishes with some coffee/baker's chocolate bitterness. It goes down very smooth and drinkable. The body is too thin for the "imperial" label but I still enjoyed it.

 266 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

on draft, served in shaker pint glass

very dark brown in color, decent head. pleasant roasty coffee aroma. taste is fairly balanced. not overly acidic or bitter, and actually not as much coffee flavor as expected for a beer named "espresso porter". medium bodied.

 270 characters

Photo of M_J_Z
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was offered on draft last week, on nitro, at The Copper Rocket in Winter Park/Orlando, FL.

I enjoyed this; the nitro added an appropriate amount of creaminess, and the espresso & vanilla flavors were present. This isn't a life-changing beer, by any means, but it's smooth and drinkable. I would order it again at any time.

To me, this is in the neighborhood of 3.5-3.75, with perhaps a slight lean toward the latter.

 423 characters

Photo of Zach136
4.34/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nitro pour at World of Beer in Pensacola.

Pour pitch black as far as I could tell in a dark bar. Rich milk chocolate. Swiss miss hot chocolate in cold nitro beer form. Notes of espresso and vanilla

 199 characters

Photo of Mikus
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared some tastes of this brew with my wife as her glass warmed up over the course of 30-45 minutes. She definitely loved this beer. I had a couple of overall impressions including the light hand used to incorporate the vanilla and coffee, fact that this must have been a pretty solid base beer, and the fact that the mouthfeel was a bit thin. Overall, this was well done and well balanced. I think that Rivertown (OH) is an up and coming brewery.

 448 characters

Photo of denver10
2.5/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

 282 characters

Photo of jp32
3.36/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Close to black in color. No head at all. Aroma is sweet and sugary with some vanilla notes. Taste is very heavy on the vanilla and sugar. This tastes more like a milk stout or sweet stout than a porter in my opinion. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Overall I'd like this a lot better if it had a little less vanilla and a lot less sugar.

 341 characters

Photo of silverking
3.87/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- deep cola colored with ruby highlights. Thin light beige head that fades fast.

S- roasted coffee and a deep chocolate aroma. Lots of vanilla.

T- the aroma translates to the palate well. Milk chocolate, coffee and vanilla. There is a light toasty bitterness in the finish.

M- medium bodied, carbonation is almost nonexistent. Watery on the back end.

O- It's a "vanilla espresso" porter and it plays that role acceptably, but it's nothing to write home about.

 474 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice roast up front before a chocolate malt, chocolate brownie takes over. The espresso and vanilla visit towards the end. This drinks rather thin so I think it would rate higher with more viscosity.

 199 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
3.59/5  rDev 0%
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.

 241 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter from Rivertown Brewing Co.
3.59 out of 5 based on 419 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.