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Imperial Tanilla Porter | Knee Deep Brewing Company

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Imperial Tanilla PorterImperial Tanilla Porter

Brewed by:
Knee Deep Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A 10 % ABV version of Tanilla. Of course we added more hop bitterness to balance the chocolate, expresso and vanilla malt sweetness. Drink at your own risk. This is a big beer, but drinks way too easy.

48 IBU

Added by 51mmz0rz on 07-25-2012

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 189
Photo of Roguer
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lively dark brew; big fluffy dark tan head with very good retention.

Lots of roasty notes on the nose. A touch of slightly soured grapes, and a touch of vanilla.

Flavor-wise, it's a very tasty robust vanilla porter. The roasty notes are strongest up front, along with dry bittering hops. It mellows out over the palate to a smooth, chocolate/espresso/vanilla porter, carrying the roast but with less tenacity.

Full-bodied, but not quite thick. Lively. Extremely drinkable, showing little sign of the 10% ABV. If not for the high ABV and the large bottle format, this could easily be a workday porter.

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another Knee Deep offering and I like their beers, generally. Imperial Tanilla porter, a variant of Tanilla I didn't know existed until I saw it in BevMo. 10% porter, I'm in.

This pours mostly black, with light coming through slightly at the edges, in a reddish amber tint. Minuscule head disappears and ends up a thin moonscape of bubbles.

The aroma is sweet malt, dark cherries, almost like a stout. The taste is more mellow, with toasted malts, caramel, and buttered toast. Lager burned a little. Vanilla comes in and there's a slight bitterness late, which I attribute to hops rather than coffee. This drinks like a stout at the beginning, then the mouth becomes like soda at the end. The cola-sweet is from malts rather than a strong vanilla, but still it is a smooth concoction.

Mouthfull ends up feeling a little watery as is style of porter. Quite strong and flavorful porter at the top, and the booze really well hidden. Nice drink, best when sipping slowly.

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Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Compared to the standard Tanilla, this Imperial version uses twice the vanilla yet looks even more chocolatey. Or, more accurately, awkward as it sounds, it appears more 'coffee-y'. This thing is black and basically flat, resembling a strong cup of heavy dark roast. Not even a movie set could lend any light to this opaque, intimidating looking beer.

You know what they say: if it looks like coffee, and it smells like coffee... let's just go ahead and name this one 'Joe'. The vanilla beans are certainly present but don't quite stack up to all the mocha and espresso overtones of the roasted barley. I assumed that distinctly rich Tahitian vanilla would dominate but it's merely an accoutrement, or so it seems...

The palate offers much more creamy sweetness. Some sips are like a visit to the ice cream shop. A good supply of earthy East Kent Goldings are working overtime to keep things under control and, in tandem with dry, roasty chocolate malt, do a considerably good job by distracting with bittersweet dark chocolate and toasted hazelnut-like notes.

Lost in all this is alcohol - did you know it's 10%? If the label didn't mention it I never would have known. Imperial Tanilla drinks like any standard-strength porter (though, in fairness, it offers about the same level and intensity of flavour too). Whether ultimately this is a pro or con depends on your point of view - I'm both impressed and underwhelmed at the same time.

Imperial Tanilla Porter won't blow you away like some of Knee Deep's imperial hoppy offerings; it doesn't pack that same punch despite its relatively rich mocha-vanilla profile. While I'm tempted to suggest bigger, better such beers from California I'll give this one credit for being arguably one of the more easily approachable (even if not the most affordable).

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Photo of tillmac62
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 12/4/15. Pours pitch black. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Very good nose of chocolate, coffee, light roast and vanilla plus a hint of char.

Medium body that is quite smooth and has creamy hints from time to time on the finish. Quite outstanding carbonation / body balance with an effervescent middle and a nice, but not quite rollicking, prickly finish.

The flavor profile lacks a bit of complexity (due to poor separation) but does cover the 10% ABV so I consider it outstanding. Intensity is adequate while balance is world class. The heavier flavors (coffee, roast) lead then flow to a nice moderate molasses like sweetness in the middle. Here dark, slightly bitter, bakers chocolate emerges against a mild roast and hop bitterness backdrop. Vanilla gains in prominence from the middle through the finish. Quite drinkable but lacks the intensity and separation to really WOW you.

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Photo of CaptainInsaneO
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Queen's kickshaw

Black and mostly opaque. Bubbles on the glass below the head are reddish in tint, and that reddishness appears around the edges when you tilt the glass to sip, almost like an extra dark cola. The head is thick and white beige like coffee icecream, creamy and fluffy but disappeared after a few sips.

Smell - can't get much off the smell besides alcohol and a little vanilla. Not offensive or even bad just not stand out- I'm not sticking my nose in just to luxuriate in it. Don't expect to glean much off the smell besides it's 10% abv and some vanilla, like i said.

Taste - very tasty, better than most vanilla forward brews I've had. Mostly vanilla. Vanilla in beers often takes a far back seat to chocolate or coffee or roastyness, this one let's the vanilla shine and doesn't let anything get in the way. ironically I can't taste much of the alcohol that's in the forefront of the nose. I personally love a big smooth stout with brunch or breakfast and this really does the trick. Not too complex, vanilla and subtle roast. Not very bitter, but again it's just what the doctor ordered for me. Good for desert or with a boozy brunch. I like it a lot.

Feel - reeeeally smooth, feels more stouty than porter-y. Velvety without much or almost any burn.

Overall I love it but a 10oz pour is plenty.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
1.74/5  rDev -55%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

GROSS. My bottle was infected so I held off to try another one before I reviewed it. I bought another one and it was also infected. Terrible sour taste and really big head with big bubbles. Yuck.

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Photo of Pahn
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Stag's Head in Manhattan.

Appearance: black with a longlasting tan head. Ancient tree like lace rings left down the glass.

Smell: Cocoa, mild vanilla, roasted malt, some espresso beans. Nice.

Taste: Whoa, a vanilla added beer with *subtle* vanilla! And a 10% beer with very little alcohol heat. Main flavors are cocoa, nutty/airy roasted malt, and really strong, aromatic coffee (good coffee). Vanilla is there as a highlight throughout. Really, really solid dessert stout flavors. Pretty masterful, honestly.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Super creamy. 40 IBUs and 10% ABV sounds like a sweet disaster but nope, this is perfectly balanced semisweet stout flavors, thick feel, definitelt bitter enough. No dryness, but not chewy or chalky or sugary, just balanced and good. Really impressive.

Overall: Decadent, creamy stout, excellently balanced. Will get again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle, dated 01/11/14 - so more than a year old

black, with decent off-white head. not much lacing. nice big vanilla aroma. the taste is definitely dominated by vanilla and maybe a little coffee flavor - but not overly sweet. medium to thick body, good mouthfeel, smooth.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.85/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A chocolate fudge sweetness dominates the aroma, though somewhat subdued, with a slight tan head yielding spots of lacing. Chocolate covered coffee flavored marshmallows is my best way of explaining the taste. Carbonated with a creamy, smooth finish. Outstanding Imperial Porter that I will have try again!

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Photo of CHickman
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Lark in East Northport, NY; pours pitch black color with a thick 2 finger foamy dark tan head that faded slowly and left very good spotty lacing.

Smells of toasted grains, dark chocolate, roasted notes, piney hops, fruit and acrid smoked sheet metal. There is some brown sugar and syrup or molasses coming through, but the metallic smell throws it all off as a porter for me.

Thankfully it tastes better than it smells with sweet malt, bitter coffee grinds, cocoa powder, toasted grains, dark chocolate, yeast or wheat bread, piney hops, dark fruit and like the nose some penny flavor. It lacks the rich roasted aspects and molasses I hoped for but it does hide the ABV completely.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery, with very mild carbonation, a little chewy feel somehow and a slightly bitter chocolatey finish with a metallic yeast touch that's on the dry side. Overall it was alright, but not as good as I expected since the Knee Deep IPA's are very tasty.

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Photo of ksimons
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-very dark brown, almost black, with two fingers worth of light tan head

S-chocolate, dark coffee with a bit of roast, and vanilla sweetness

T-chocolate and vanilla with a light nuttiness to it and some roasted dark coffee in the finish. No alcohol detected in the taste.

M-medium body, very creamy, moderate carbonation

Overall very enjoyable, nice amount of creaminess and chocolate and vanilla sweetness

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Photo of FLima
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deepest black color with a thick beige head with good retention.
Nice aroma with notes of vanilla, cocoa, molasses and coffee.
Delicious flavor with notes of vanilla, licorice, coffee, cocoa, grapefruit, plums, molasses, mild tobacco and earthy hops. Quite dry aftertaste with its residual notes.
Light bordering medium body with mild carbonation.
Extremely pleasant Imperial Porter with great malt complexity, lots of vanilla and balanced with earthy hops.

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Photo of Beerswag
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Looks nice with a pitch black body and fluffy 4 finger almond colored-big-bubbled head. Smell is toned, and mild coffee,chocolate roasted malts, with the vanilla apparent.taste is bitterness of dark cocoa, coffee, vanilla, hop-bitterness from the hops, no fruit from the hops apparent. slightly dry finish not too sweet thick body syrupy nuttiness coming from the roasted malts and the coffee sticking in the background and on the nose.getting a little bitterness on the finish from the vanilla and hops melding, however not overdone. Would pair nice with vanilla desserts such as ice cream or flambésor with a cheddar bisque,or extra aged Nutty cheeses.

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Photo of Raymonkaufmann
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Bottle retrieved in Astoria NY.

Frothy head with nice lacing.

Let it warm to just above room temperature. Vanilla / Coffee noise with burnt candy finish.

No alcohol burn even at 10% ABV

Great beer for the colder months ahead.

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Photo of dar482
4.22/5  rDev +9%

The beer has a rich smooth mouthfeel. Not viscous, but quite competent for the ABV. There's a lot of chocolate, almost like a chocolate cake. A good amount of espresso bitterness as the beer smooth out with a gentle amount of vanilla. Vanilla mostly shines on the back end. A very drinkable beer as the hops balance the beer on the finish.

A very good imperial porter that is deserving of a good rating.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Looks like a hot mocha.
Tastes of bittersweet chocolate and lots of espresso. The vanilla adds a perfect amount of buttery smoothness and the hop bitterness balances this out to really give the feel that you're drinking an $8 hipster coffee drink at dumb Starbucks at not an $8 bomber from Bevmo.

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Photo of Hophazzard
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow! I'm not a huge fan of porters in general but I like this beer. High %ABV with deep sweet & smokey vanilla chocolate and tobacco body that has a smooth finish with just a hint of alcohol burn at the the end.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +3.4%

A: dark translucent brown pour yields a black ale with a few fluffy fingers of fat mocha-colored head

S: vanilla and licorice were dominant for me, from the nose through the finish; undercurrents of roasted dark malt

T: lots of vanilla up front, reminiscent of the vanilla extract that comes in those little brown bottles; slight alcoholic edge to the vanilla flavors; anise and licorice-like flavors complemented the vanilla, but also created a distinct character that had something like flashes of mint? Once acclimated to the initial flavors, enjoyed a more chocolaty finish; other flavors I noted were akin to coffee with milk and sugar.

M: slick and smooth, mild roasty aftertaste, low bitterness; medium-light feel, modest carbonation on the tongue

O: as advertised - fans of porters, especially those with vanilla, should be delighted. You won't notice the abv too much, but as I indicated, some seemed to be present in the vanilla; easy drinking and mellow. Not usually a fan of too many porters, but I liked the high abv and vanilla/anise aspect, and also felt that beer delivered on its promise, so my score may be a higher than a porter purist's.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Beautiful, rich pour. I like the slight hop bite ... blends nicely with the sweetness. It feels thick and heavy ... they definitely didn't skimp on the malts! It's probably just me but I don't sense any particular flavor, just an overall taste sensation. I guess perhaps a roasted flavor is everpresent. I was hoping for vanilla/caramel overtones but they appear missing. It's a very good beer ... I need to find the Bourbon Barrel aged version!

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Photo of Samuel906
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly typical stout here in a lot of ways save one: there is a ton of vanilla on both the nose and palate. Pours a pretty standard pitch black with an off white head, moderate retention that leaves some lacing on the glass. Very potent aroma and vanilla is going to be the first thing you notice and the last thing to linger. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't shake the sensation that I was smelling a bottle of imitation vanilla before it went into some baked goods. I just didn't get that sense of fresh, real vanilla beans. Some coffee, and roasted malts also on the nose. But fortunately for me, the taste did not retain any of that possible "imitation" sensation I got from the nose. Lots of bitter vanilla bean, as well as bakers chocolate, chewy malts, some mild molasses sweetness, and some boozey warmth. It is actually fairly bitter, and not a sugar bomb like I was expecting which was a pleasant surprise. Feel is medium bodied, with mild carbonation. Not sticky. Overall, great beer and a nice drive off the beaten path of chocolate-only or coffee-only stouts and porters. My only real qualm was the smell which reminded me to vividly of the imitation vanilla, but that could just be my memories trying to wreck what was otherwise a great beer.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Knee Deep's Imperial Tanilla, imperial porter with vanilla beans. 10% ABV.

A: Pours dark brown. Black in the glass, with dark brown in the dimple (not quite as dark as the Haand). About a finger of creamy, slightly brown head. Very persistent lacing.

S: Deep, dark coffee profile dominates. Vanilla bean. No obvious sweetness.

T/MF: As the smell implies, this is very dry for a darker beer. Char/graphite seems to dominate. Slight vanilla flavor, but it's hard for me to notice without any sweetness. Slight ash note. Not bad, but doesn't match up to my expectations. I might have to hunt down the original Tanilla and see if it has the necessary sweetness to carry the vanilla...

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark tan, brown with a near 2 inch thick, foamy head, with tons of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, some coffee, has a bold malted milk aroma near the finish.

Taste - Classic malty porter flavor, with a big vanilla bite. Velvety smooth and creamy, rich but not overly sweet. Chocolates and coffee and mild and add some complex flavors without overpowering in any way. A nice nutty taste with a little wood near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Malts and vanilla really take hold of tongue. Palate gets more malts and vanilla, along with coffee, chocolate and some hops. Aftertaste is malty, chocolate, vanilla and a little bitter hop kick.

Overall - Really nice, smooth and flavorful. Plenty of vanilla but has great balance. Alcohol is really masked, drinks like a standard 6% porter. Creamy, silky, drinks like a dessert beer, but can be pair with dinner or a cigar, or even out on the porch.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark hue of black with ruby brown highlights, light mocha tan head forms nice intricate lacing. Aromatics offer up dark dessert chocolate notes, roasted iced coffee notes, nutty edge that seems like it would all go well in some oatmeal. Flavors roasted malts, dark chocolate drizzled on some, dark robust coffee notes. Burnt acrid bitter edge on the finish from the dark malts, balanced flowing creaminess works to ease that dark malt robustness. Mouthfeel is creamy texture heaven on the palate, completely hidden alcohol I can't believe this stuff is rolling in at 10% abv...undetectable. Finishes smooth on the palate, nice drinking imperial porter absolutely smooth and delicious pairs great with most darker wrapped cigars out there.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

With less char with which to contend, backing off of an imperial stout recipe works masterfully as the taste of vanilla and chocolate are better showcased in this big and experimental porter.

And with the porter influence taking hold, the massive beer pours with a murky mocha color, looking as much of hot cocoa as it does of porter. As a light cream-colored head slowly builds, its retention is cut short by the chocolate and vanilla oils, leaving also little chance for any meaningful lace.

High vanilla and chocolate aromas come forth immediately. With the backdrop of lightly scorched toffee, heavy toast and dark-roast coffee, the ale carries a lot of supporting nutty and woodish scents without the risk of char or roast.

Its lavish taste wraps around the tongue with milkshake-like sweetnesses. Its charged flavor of heavy whipping cream, vanilla bean and marshmallow seduces the early palate with ease; then slowly developing into chocolate, toast, "Nutella-type" nuttiness, and hearty toffee. As a woody bitterness grows in finish, it blends into the milk chocolate flavor well.

Its rich and silky body once again evokes the sense of milkshake as its deeply woven carbonation subtly escapes its sweetness. Its slow procession across the palate goes from full-bodied to malty-dry very patiently, concluding with a long and vanilla-driven aftertaste.

Imperial Tanilla's character isn't that of depth, complexity or surprise. It sells its vanilla and chocolate well even though it leaves me wanting something more in complement.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, bottled on date of 02/05/14. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is very nice, the brew smells like vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate, and some coffee. Not surprisingly, the taste is similar to the aroma. It tastes like roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and some molasses. Nice mix of both bitter and sweet flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and has a moderate amount of carbonation. 10% ABV is well hidden. I think this is a good brew, I wouldn't mind picking up another bottle. $6.99 a bomber.

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Imperial Tanilla Porter from Knee Deep Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 189 ratings.
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