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Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter | Rivertown Brewing Co.

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79 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 406
Photo of metter98
3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color. It poured with a half-finger high off white head that died down and left patches of bubbles on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are faint aromas of vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of chocolate with notes of vanilla and hints of espresso. As the beer warms up, the vanilla becomes stronger and resembles imitation vanilla extract.
M: It feels somewhat short of medium-bodied on the palate but is smooth with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink but would be much more interesting if it had stronger aromas and flavors. The alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Incredible vanilla cream taste exudes from Rivertown's Roebling Imperial Porter; so much so that the spice adds just as much to the balance of the beer as do any dark malts. But with the influence from that savory spice, a few inconsistencies occur...

Pouring a very dark brown, the beer shares lighter tawny brown highlights along the edges. It's arid, loosely-knit froth rises and then falls quite quickly, succumbing to the alcohol and oils of the beer that's more evident in taste. Void of lace, the beer instead shows light brandy-like legging. It's a rather still beer that takes on slight cask ale appearances.

Aromas a coffee, chocolate, and toffee are wrapped in a cocoon of vanilla that brings a highly succulent scent to the forefront. Both delicate and robust, the darker elements of the beer portray slight caution, but the allure of vanilla is so very inviting.

Chocolate and vanilla command the flavors while nuances of nutty Colombian coffee, walnut oils, bittersweet chocolate, and cola support the dessert-like taste and add moments of much needed complexity. Light woodish bitterness rides just beneath the flavors of dark and sweet and offers timid balance.

Medium-full in body, the beer's fast fleeting carbonation leaves the beer weighted and dense on the tongue. The medium residual sweetness is long and somewhat lumbering indefinite. Yet, the silky smooth vanilla cream textures offer soft velvety textures that makes the lack of dryness and creaminess much more forgivable.

With the beer's overall dull textures, it needs even more power, strength, and depth to pull off the sill appearance and flat mouthfeel. It could also benefit from backing off of the vanilla just a touch to allow carbonation to remain in suspension a tad longer.

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Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
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 smcolw
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good starting head (for a bar pour). It leaves a blanket of streaky, non-lasting lace. The color is deep ruby brown where bright light will pass.

Interestingly, I smell berry initially--almost like Hi-C. There's a darker chocolate aroma in the background.

This beer tastes like chocolate milk. Good body with a lower level of bubbles. This is sweeter than most porters. It also doesn't have the harsher flavors of the stronger porters. I like this more mellow offering--it's flavorful without being harsh.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.86/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Rivertown robust porter....is good. Pours an opaque dark with very thin head and no lace. The scent has hinst of vanilla and coffee. The vanilla is very present in the taste with backdrop of coffee. The mouthfeel is medium with smooth carbonation. overall very tasty.

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Photo of Tone
3.52/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice brown black color, though the cappuccino head faded somewhat quickly.

Aroma is chocolatey, slightly roasty and nutty, with definite vanilla presence.

Flavor is dominated by vanilla, but the roast and chocolate balance is fairly smooth.

Body's a touch full, with minimal carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Not a huge vanilla fan, but this is a decent porter.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a DFH Signature glass, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch light tan head that went away quickly. There's pretty much no lacing left on the glass. Aroma is malty and roasty, it smells like roasted malt, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is just like the aroma, it's all roasted malt, coffee and bittersweet chocolate, although it does taste better than it smells. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's coating and goes down easy. For $9.99 a 6-pack, I'm not going to have any problems finishing this sixer. Looking at the past reviews for this beer, either I like it more than most people do, or all of the good batches of this beer were sent to Columbus.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Not a bad pour a 1/2 of mocha head that fizzes out rather quickly to just a mild lace ring. Color is a fairly dark amber brown with a red hue yet not pitch black like an imperial porter should be.
S - Smell is amazing with vanilla, oak, chocolate, sweet mocha like coffee.
T - Kind of muddled so I guess the smells were artificial. Fizzy chocolate cream meets some oak and citrus hops. Where is the dry yeast finish is this even a porter? Not offensive just not what I expected from the smell.
M - Kind of creamy with a chewy medium body. Pretty on par.
Overall I guess it's an alright porter reading the label it seemed like a weak porter with a shit ton of vanilla, coffee, and cane sugars added. Expect this going into it.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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 jmdrpi
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
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 DavoleBomb
3.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

2.5 A: Black color. Half a finger of fizzy tan head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing. I know how coffee can wreak havoc on head retention, so I went easy on them.

3.5 S: Loads of vanilla in this with coffee secondary. Smells like something too sweet that you might order from Starbucks. Perhaps a hint of chocolate, but it's hard to tell since the vanilla and coffee are quite strong. Doesn't really smell a lot like beer, but it's pleasant nonetheless.

3.5 T: Again, not a lot of beer flavor in this beer, but it's still a tasty drink. Vanilla isn't at all overdone and it meshes well with the coffee. Slight graininess is detectable. Simple, but tasty.

3.0 M: Lighter body. A little more carbonation that is necessary, but it isn't really a bad thing. The only thing I don't like is that it's lacking creaminess. Otherwise, very smooth.

3.5 D: I enjoyed this, but I won't lie to you and say it's a good beer. The adjuncts are way more powerful than the beer itself. In any case, it's a tasty drink.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into tulip. Nice brown with tan head - slightly reddish hue. Awesome vanilla and slight chocolate roasty aroma.
Mild brown caramel and vanilla flavor...quite nice. Its a bit thin and lacking in body but drinks really easy. Its almost a very dark brown ale more than a porter, but is in general a pretty good brew. Not sure why such low reviews...maybe because its a little thin, but the flavor is there. For almost 8% abv, this drinks insanely smooth...feels like its 4%. I definitely reccomend this one...

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Photo of birchstick
3.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish black without much of a head. Smells of vanilla, molasses, coffee, and some chcoloate. Smells really sweet. Taste follows suit. Opens up with chocolate flavors that move to a vanilla and cola flavor. Finishes with a little bit of chocolate and coffee tones. Really sweet all over, which works well if it is treated as a dessert beer. Pretty good overall.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
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 tbryan5
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
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 buschbeer
4.17/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It has a dark brown body with ruby highlights. I rather timid pour yielded a half a glass of tan head.

S - At first I didn't get much, but as it warmed the chocolate and vanilla aromas came out.

T - It starts out with some chocolate and then I get some vanilla in the middle. Some chocolate lingers on my palate after each drink.

M - Medium

O - I really like this beer. I have only had it on tap until this serving, and the bottle lived up to the draft. I would be satisfied with drinking this all winter.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Zach136
4.34/5  rDev +20.6%
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

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Photo of Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to nothing. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Vanilla, roasted strong coffee, milk chocolate, doughy, and confectioners sugar.

Taste: Milk chocolate robust vanilla brownies. It's crazy delicious.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little sweet, medium bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty tasty porter. All the extra features make thus an exceptional beer.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.34/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Dark brown, but fairly translucent. Forms a thin light tan head with a low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Brown toasted malts and some nutty sweetness. That's about it.

T: Roasted malts up front, then has a vanilla and hazelnut sweetness in the middle to end. Some restrained coffee flavor near the end. Light roasted bitterness with vanilla in the hang with just a touch of medicinal astringency.

M: This has a thin body for a porter (especially for one self-described as "Imperial"), but not quite watery. Carbonation sensation on the low side, moderate alcohol flavor.

O: It's not awful. But there are an awful lot of better porters out there to be drank. Can't recommend this one, but if I was at a party and it was what was available, I wouldn't refuse.

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Roebling Vanilla Espresso Porter from Rivertown Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 406 ratings.
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