Tanilla Porter | Knee Deep Brewing Company

72 Reviews
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Tanilla PorterTanilla Porter

Brewed by:
Knee Deep Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Made with only grade-A Tahitian vanilla beans, Tanilla carries a smooth chocolate flavor complemented by the delicate intensity of vanilla beans, and a rich aroma of coffee.

Added by Beerandraiderfan on 04-20-2011

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 304
Photo of Hopinista
1.15/5  rDev -66.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I wish I could give this a proper review, but the bottle i got was infected. I knew something was up when I poured a small amount and it gushed out of the glass. Taste is chocolatey brett. I was very excited to try this too so it's an extra disappointed.

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Photo of alexhahn82
2.17/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The name of the beer is fantastic, the beer is mediocre. The beer poured with a semi flat low head, but was thoroughly carbonated. Reading the label it appears to be a sublet brewing and bottling.

As a porter the beer is fair and decent, but nothing to write home about based upon the price. Extremely dark in color and almost no light passes through it. The beer was semi metallic in taste, and upon further inspection of the bottle there was a light crown residue/imprint on the lip of the bottle, making me think it was improperly stored/bottled/shipped. I would not be opposed to to trying again, but only from the source.

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Photo of lurpy1
2.27/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

On tap at BJ's charm-free brewpub in Roseville, CA. Not real familiar with Knee Deep. But how can you fuck up with vanilla and beer, right? Well, unless you are one of the C-list breweries I've had who have fucked up vanilla porters.

Pours, well, brown. Not a real impressive porter brown. Cola thin. No head. Not a porter, more of a Mystery Strong Dark Ale.

Smell has some smoke and vanilla. Mostly vanilla. I mean, mostly smoke. Pleasant

I'll say this much for the vanilla flavor - it tastes less artificial than some other flawed vanilla beers I have. It tastes somewhat like the real thing. But there's too damn much of it. Coupled with the bitter astringency, not so hot.

Mouthfeel was a disaster. Thin, watery, zingy with carbonation. Terrible, terrible pop rocks on the tongue sensation.

Overall, very low, although there is room for improvement with better understanding of how to make a bigger dessert beer. While the taste could have been worse, I did not finish the beer, basically the public version of the drain pour. In answer to my rhetorical question "how can you fuck up with vanilla and beer?", the (rhetorical) answer is "let me count the ways".

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.32/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Fairly dark pour. Light brown around the edges. Minimal head. Light ring of mocha remains on the outside of the glass. Smell is smokey sweet vanilla. Upon sip, the first thing that stands out is how thin this beer is. Like a brown ale. Taste is right in line with the nose. Nothing special to be honest. This beer is so sickeningly sweet with the crappy imitation vanilla taste. The smokey character doesn't mute any of it out. Also, I hate smoke in my beer. Gross. There is a possible hint of chocolate in here but it;s hard to get past all the other bunk. Pretty awful beer.

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Photo of Rizalini
2.47/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bomber into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours black, with a minimal head that fades almost as fast as it appears.

S - Has a slightly roasty, nutty aroma with hints of dark chocolates and vanilla in the background.

T - The taste doesn't go with the smell at all. It's very thin, and not much flavor at all. A slight roasty coffee aroma, but sadly that's about it.

M - As stated before, thin and watery. Lacking in carbonation.

O - Avoid this one. I paid $6 for this bottle, and it wasn't worth half of that. This beer lacks in character, flavor, and everything else in between. I'm not trying to bash, but this is a very poor porter.

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Photo of amread4
2.57/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: very dark brown - close to black with a quickly dissipating tan head. The head did not stick to the glass as it faded.

S: smoke with a follow of malt. Imitation vanilla on the finish.

T: less smoke than the smell with a lot of vanilla. Very sweet vanilla taste that overwhelms the other flavors.

M: thin with a feel that is closer to a brown than a porter. Not chewy at all.

O: slightly below average, though this is not a style that I find particularly appealing. I think the beer would be better served with less vanilla and more focus on the malts and smoke flavor. Those were nice when they were able to cut through the vanilla.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.62/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light brown, not much head or retention, couldn't even tell what the color of the head was it was so thin. Mild coffee aroma to it. Didn't pick up any vanilla.

Taste, thin body, seemed more like a brown ale than a 'robust' porter, watery. Vanilla is extremely muted, sugar more dominant than vanilla. Little to no hop flavor. Compared to every other vanilla beer I've had, this one just didn't cut it.

$7 a bottle is about twice as much as I'd pay for this beer. You can get a breckenridge 6 pack of Vanilla Porter for that price, and actually enjoy it for what it is advertised as. Liked this more in its demo stage at the Brew Ha Ha a few years back.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.64/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a deep brown with a fizzy moderate eggshell white head. Average retention, no lace.

S: Sweet milk chocolate notes, almost oatmeal stout like. Light coffee and roast.

T: Thin chocolate flavour and fairly astringent, some tang to it. The vanilla bean flavour in the finish is very nice and saves the beer, but it really should be more of a focal point.

M: Ridiculously thin for a porter, especially at 6.3%. Fizzy, lightly acidic, the mouthfeel of soda pop.

O: While not atrocious, not exactly thrilling me either. When I was in AZ, I enjoyed Breckenridge Vanilla Porter and hoped that this could be a nice facsimile, but it isn't. Overpriced for sure and the vanilla which is the best part of the beer is really hard to find.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.68/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The color when poured was a thick dark brown with a reddish hue. The smell had roasted malts and a hint of caramel, but couldn't smell the vanilla. The flavor was a real dissapointment. Not a lot of flavor. The flavor was of roasted malts. with no hint of vanilla, in fact no hint of anything but roasted malts. Tanilla Porter was a big dissapointment!

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Photo of oline73
2.7/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark brown color with some red coming through when light hits the beer. There is a layer of off white color that leaves a very thin ring around the pour.

Smell: Definitely getting some vanilla. There is a slightly sweet malt note along with the vanilla. Overall, not very complex.

Taste: The roasted malt only contributes a little bit. I'm getting some vanilla, just the right amount to compliment the other flavors, but those other flavors are lacking. The finish is slightly roasty and a bit watery.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium with rather large bubbles. The finish is quite dry.

Overall: A very boring beer. The amount of vanilla seemed about right, but I needed more from the malt component.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.83/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Light brown pour yields 1/6" off white head. Vanilla absent, some coffee like aroma notes present.

Taste was a hodgepodge of adjunct sweeteners, wasn't matched well mouthfeel wise with the base. Brown malt came off too light. Wasn't what I would call a robust porter hearty enough to take on all the adjunct sweeteners.

Expensive in the bomber format.

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Photo of Fatehunter
2.92/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A half finger of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is single-mindedly vanilla.
The taste is moderately sweet moving sweeter at the end. The middle has an unexpected bitterness. The profile is a bit disjointed.
Smooth texture with low carbonation and thicker body.
If you like sweetness this is for you.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a pleasant, deep red-brown, with a solid clarity. Body is firm enough, and the head is frothy and thick, although it doesn't retain particularly well, and there's only minimal lacing. Still, it looks pretty decent.

Nose is mildly grainy with a smooth vanilla undertone, but an unpleasant echo of tinny metal comes through as well. Vanilla is dominant as it warms, almost making it smell overly sweet. The vanilla's a nice touch overall, but it doesn't really blend with the other characters, mainly because no other character is robust enough to keep up.

Taste is rather thin, with a fake vanilla sweetness coming through the centre, before a harsh roasted, almost tobacco ash character comes through on the finish. It's no better as it warms—the body still feels thin, there's no sweetness to support the vanilla, and the bitterness on the finish adds a dollop of unpleasantness to top things off.

It's not terrible, but it should be better than this. It's way too thin, and there's not a depth or complexity to it. Moreover, what characters it does have don't gel together into a coherent whole, and some actively rebel against the flavour of the whole. Disappointing.

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Photo of seand
2.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque black or very dark brown, with a small amount of tan head. A thin layer retains, enough to leave nice walls of lacing.

S: Not much too it; light roasted sweetness.

T: The very beginning is sweet, but the beer is weirdly hollow through the mid palate. Finishes with a kind of metallic, coppery note. There's also a very mild sweetness throughout, just a slight touch of brown sugar.

M: Medium to light body, except nearly non-existent through the middle, medium carbonation.

Overall, not so great. It just kind of falls flat and doesn't have much interesting going on. It's not exactly bad, and it does drink easily, but there are much better things one could drink instead.

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Photo of litheum94
2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. No dates. Reviewed 6/11/11.

P: Obsidian black. Thick vanilla latte colored head. Settles to a nice cover, with pools of thick foam.

A: Sweet vanilla and cream soda aromas. Milk chocolate. Some coffee bean.

T: Real vanilla bean flavors, not syrupy tasting. Cream soda in taste and mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, with roasted malts imparting a slight coffee taste. The finish is actually a little too dry, leaving a weird feeling in the mouth.

Not much depth, and way too dry on the finish. Not a bad brew, but I won't come back to this one again.

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Photo of pants678
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Brown headed toward black with a beige head. Nothing out of the ordinary for a porter.

Vanilla, little chocolate.

Not exactly what I'd call a polarizing beer, benign in nature. Not getting much more than roasted malt, some vanilla but hard to call that characteristic. Slightly sweet but mostly empty. Seems so negative but it's not an offensive or obnoxious beer. Dark chocolate eventually comes through.

Texture's fine, actually it'd be perfect for a more pungent brew. Crisp but still full-bodied, stains the palette which is great.

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Photo of McShane
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Kneed Deep brewing has been impressing me. I really like their imperial Red ale and their IPA. The Tanilla is well ehh. So let's get into it.

Appearance- It's a sexy beast. I dig the look. It holds promise. Deep red with a large thick head. Great start.

Smell- That head does a great job pushing the vanilla fragrance. It holds it there and since the head doesn't dissipate quickly its aroma lingers. Again, GREAT start.

Taste- So this is a porter and it's vanilla. My expectations would be that it does both well. Well it doesn't really. The porter aspects are somewhat harsh. I'm a porter guy and this just wasn't fun to drink. It didn't commit in any one direction. I couldn't call it a Vanilla beer either because the vanilla was such an afterthought.

Mouthfeel- This is probably the worst part. It was heavy on carbonation and at times I had to swallow several times to clear my mouth. So it brought out alot of saliva. Not to be gross but that's just not fun.

I think this company has a lot of potential and they've made some good beers and will continue i'm sure. This one, I'm not coming back for.


Steve McShane
The Drunkards Call Podcast
Growler Radio
Find both on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 5.99. Served in a large snifter. 

Pours dark brown with 1.5 fingers beige head. Very little lacing. 

Smells of faintly roasty malt, vanilla extract and heavily creamed/sweetened coffee. Meh. 

Luckily the vanilla and roast comes through a little better in the taste. A one trick pony of vanilla/roast that borders too sweet without any balancing depth but it knows what it is. Zero alcohol apparent, not surprising at only 6%. 

Feel is light and thin with nearly too much carbonation. Long sweet aftertaste. 

Not a bad drinking experience but not one I'll be clamoring to repeat. It has a distinct sweet vanilla edge, of which I'm a fan but there are several other beers that do it better in my opinion. 

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Photo of OmahaKF
3.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Smell is lactose sweetness, and bittersweet chocolate (somewhat muted smell overall).

Taste is sweet like flavored milk, slightly creamy, with only hints of vanilla. Mouthfeel is really thin for a porter. Overall a slightly sweeter than normal porter but nothing super special.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right. So, let's have 22 ounces of beer. On to the beer:

The head has a soapy texture and has fair retention on top of this cola black colored beer. Spots of lace are left around the glass. Ruby red hues can be found towards the bottom of the glass. Now at first, the vanilla is tough to find, but it eventually comes out. Bitter roasted grain and hop resin comes out mostly.

It's a good thing there's vanilla to taste in this porter, otherwise we would be looking at a bitter, astringent beer. The vanilla is there to provide sweetness. As for the roasted malt and bitter as ash hops, I can say that I've had better flavor coming out of those ingredients in a porter. A tiny bit of molasses makes itself present. It's medium bodied, and features a drinkability that is alright.

Good in one area, (added flavor) flawed in another (base malt and hops). Not one I'm going to remember as awesome.

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Photo of vegassommelier
3.09/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

In searching for a certain vanilla porter I had on a vacation that I failed to write down or snap a photo of, I came across this offering. some solid value here, with a 22oz bottle going for $5.
The vanilla is not that prevalent, the opposite of what I was worried about. Much more malty and stout-ish, with a faint vanilla finish. Good mouthfeel with a dry, sightly bitter finish.
A good beer, well made, but nothing I would rush to get again.

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Photo of Totalpackage411
3.11/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Very earthy taste, not your typical porter. Very light compared to most porters I've had. good for easing your way into the more rich and stronger porter style beers

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Photo of SHODriver
3.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours a deep black with a small amount of tan head which recedes quickly to a barely there puddle in the center and a ring around the glass.
S: Smells sweet with hints of coffee and chocolate. Pretty light on the nose. Not very robust in aroma
T: Hard to place the taste on this one. Chocolate, and coffee flavors, faint roast malt, not a lot of vanilla flavor though. Kind of weak in flavor as well but not bad. Just needs to be a bit louder. Aftertaste is bitter coffee with hints of vanilla. around 55-60 it gets to be fairly sweet and the vanilla starts to shine a bit more and bumps the flavor points up
M: About right for a porter, maybe a bit too light and carbonation is decent bordering on prickly.
O: Not bad, but not great. it get's better the closer it is to room temp

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Photo of DigBaseball
3.29/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was driving up to Lake Tahoe over Labor Day weekend last summer, and stopped off at a Raley's in Auburn to pick up lunch. I usually like to peruse the beer aisle when I'm in "foreign" grocery stores, hoping to snag a hard-to-find favorite, or otherwise something unfamiliar but enticing.

Browsing the unusually deep selection, I came upon a label I didn't recognize, and whose tribal designs recalled those printed on Peet's coffee cups. On closer inspection I discovered a style and manufacturer I'd never experienced. Examining the bottle further, I discovered it was "Brewed and Bottled for Knee Deep Beer Company by Beer4U, Belmont, California." This amused me, because I'd just moved from Belmont after living there the previous two years, but had no recollection of either company.

It was an snap decision to purchase the Tanilla Porter, but finding the right occasion to crack it open took significantly more discretion and patience. Typically, when I select a bottle with the intention of enjoying it solo, I opt for something a bit more conventional, a known quantity, avoiding my one-of-a-kind bottles in favor of something I can more easily replenish.

I had more or less decided to hang on to the Tanilla until I could share it as an after-dinner beer with friends. Unfortunately, I haven't had too many dinners with beer-drinking friends in the last few months. First, I was occupied with moving-related tasks, and then I was busy with rehearsals for a play that ran in November, and then before you knew it, The Holidays were upon us...

For various reasons, I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to stop buying beer for my home collection. Even though I decided this in December, I more or less forgot to stockpile "everyday" beers when I had the chance, and so I entered 2012 with precious few session beers on hand (mostly leftover bottles of Stella from a recent party). The other night, I was in the mood for a post-dinner tipple, decided what the hell, and poured myself a luscious mug of sweetly aromatic Tanilla.

I must confess that the tasting experience peaked just as (no, not before) the first sip of rich porter coated the insides of my mouth. It's not that I didn't like the Tanilla, don't misunderstand me. It's just that the inviting smell which drew my lips closer to the glass was in itself the ultimate reward after months of anticipation.

Now, perhaps I had built it up so much for myself that anything less than an instantaneous bufotenin surge would have come off as anticlimactic. Perhaps. All I know is that as soon as my taste buds registered the Tanilla's presence, I knew that the wait was over. Reality was upon me. It was, after all, just a fucking beer

As for getting into the specifics of mouthfeel, color, viscosity, and all that, I leave those details to other Beer Advocate reviewers, and will close by saying that this beer did not disappoint me. Far from it, actually. And if I learned anything from the experience, it's that I need to recruit a few friendly volunteers to help bring me back down to earth a little bit, and drink my beer with me in a more timely fashion, so I don't obsess too much about finding the perfect time to open this bottle or that one.

I wouldn't even mind reloading with a fresh bottle of Tanilla to share with friends -- in 2013, of course.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled May 7th 2014.

Simple dark walnut body, with a two finger light cocoa brown to tan head. Head settles to a real foamy cap, and leaves a simple thin puck while slowly settling down. Pretty much a textbook color porter and non aggressive presence.

Mild hints of roast, and soft sweetness. Not really getting any hints of vanilla off of this at all. Clean but not much going on here and a bit closed. Some cake like sense a bit but very hard to detect. Otherwise kind of neutral.

Palate comes forth kind of ordinary. Some odd faint tang but very mild sourness mixing with a large roasted bitterness. Slightly hinting towards acrid, but also wit a touch of mild fizz in the back, of a slightly wet body. Really not getting any mid vanilla off of this at all. Roast feel comes out with a hint of popped seltzery quality, making the bitterness a bit strange.

Overall an ok porter, but really missing the vanilla quality the beer suggests and claims it offers.

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Tanilla Porter from Knee Deep Brewing Company
3.43 out of 5 based on 304 ratings.
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