Thomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale | Thomas Creek Brewery

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Thomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream AleThomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale

Brewed by:
Thomas Creek Brewery
South Carolina, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
23 IBU

Added by aracauna on 04-26-2004

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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 173
Photo of xfactor9600
2.65/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: clear pale yellow. Some head.

Smell: a slight vanilla flavor that wasn't a poignant as I was expecting

Taste: a sweet concoction of hops and vanilla. Not what I was expecting or hoping for. In some sips the vanilla would come through more than others.

Mouthfeel: a light feel that did not feel well carbonated.

Drinkability: Ok, in a one or two bottle setting at most. I could not picture myself getting again, but would drink at someone's house.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of oberon
3.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Vintage 301 last night,poured a very ;ight lemony yellow with a tight formed 1/2 finger white that was gone quickly.Faint toasted aromas along with a whiff of vanilla but its quite faint.The mouthfeel was nice and creamy and went down smooth,flavors are pretty heavy handed vanilla and some light toastiness almost like a vanilla wafer.Eh it isnt bad for what it is but its not my thing.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, pale yellow body with a small-sized, white head.

Smell: Sweet-scented vanilla additive amongst light pilsner malt notes and some spicy-minded hop accents.

Taste: Sweetish pale malts and lightly grainy pils come together with a taste of vanilla flavoring. Spicy hop character with a medium amount of bitterness. Small hint of citrus. Light bitterness and final taste of vanilla in the dry, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: An acceptable, generally easy-drinking beer, but, for me, the gimmick wears a bit thin halfway through the bottle.

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Photo of br3wmeister
3.24/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Big bubbly white head sits atop a pale yellow beer. The had dissipates quickly leaving only a thins layer that caps the beer. Some moderate lacing but nothing to write home about.

S- Lots of nice sweet fruity aromas, peach, plums and bananas with a hint of vanilla and some nice citrus hops. The vanilla aroma becomes very apparent as it warms up.

T- Wow, Lots of vanilla, I was not prepared for the amount of vanilla after smelling this beer. Very sweet and cake like flavors up front then a nice citrus hop balance helps to keep this beer drinkable.

M- Fairly light bodied with not much going on, normal carbonation not overly crisp or dry, just kinda average.

Overall this is a very vanilla-e beer, if you like vanilla get this beer. I personally thought it was a little boring.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.92/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Blonde with a small to medium white head that sticks to the inside of my glass.

S - Smells sugary with hints of vanilla and honey

T - Crisp yet creamy, lots of vanilla and honey as the smell suggests.

M - Creamy but not thick, lingering in the mouth a bit after a sip.

D - Very drinkable if you're into a sweet beer. Not too heavy, but not overpoweringly sweet.

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Photo of DrJay
3.22/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one in a recent trade from mikesgroove. Thanks!
Very close to clear with just a faint haze, the beer was a straw yellow with a thin, coarse cap of white bubbles. A little bit of stickage, but not much in the way of lacing. Light aroma overall with vanilla front and center, some cereal grain and sugary caramel notes were in the background. Taste was more of the same with mild bitterness. Vanilla and sweetness lingered. Light bodied, crisp carbonation, decent texture. A drinkable beer, fairly refreshing, but the vanilla didn't have much to play with. Even though the vanilla was fairly light, it completely dominated the flavour and aroma. Not bad though and sort of interesting.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.08/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up one of the newly labeled bottles the other day and wanted to give it a try. I had this I think last year but did not really remember much about it so I figured I would give it one more shot. Poured into a pilsner glass it was a nice hazy, light yellow color with a good sized three inch high head of white foam. Very nice carbonation profile with rippling bubbles shooting skyward throughout the session. Decent head retention and some good side glass lace.

The aroma was nice and light, not really much of a hint of anything here with the faintest exception of some light vanilla just kissing the nose, mostly light grain and wheat though. The taste was just the same, very light, with a clean, crisp, and well carbonated light body to it. Light hints of malt mixed in with what seemed like an artificial vanilla flavor, not terrible, just not particularly impressive either. Easily session able, I was unsure if there was even alcohol in this one as it came off so light.

Overall not a bad light, outdoor on a hot day type of beer, but to be honest I have had better. Still though not a bad effort and I would not be terribly opposed to trying it again. Decent effort for sure.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm actually somewhat surprised with this one. Given my past experience with this brewery, it is a miracle indeed that I even agreed to to try something else from these guys. I understand, however, that TC has totally re-packaged their beer and is brewing with new recipes for a totally new start.
This wasn't an amazing beer. In fact, it was a notch or two above average at best. However, it was leaps and bounds better than anything I had from them in the past. It poured a golden straw colour with a two and a half finger thick frothy, soapy head. CO2 continually streamed upward resulting in terrific head retention. Smell was rather tame sweet malts, a very modest *hint* of vanilla, and bereft of any hops. Taste was somewhat light being mostly sweet malts with a bit of an earthy hop bitterness. The vanilla is very, very subtle indeed. In fact, any perception of vanilla at all is probably my mind fooling my palate. If you handed this to someone in a pint glass without them seeing the bottle and just said it's a cream ale, they'd likely never know that vanilla was involved at all. In the end, a rather forgetable beer that was neither fantastic nor dis-pleasing, but given their history, this is a monumental improvement. Great work Thomas Creek.
*Note* A visit to their website reveals that there are Kent Goldings and Fuggles in this. Okay, I'd believe that. It also says there's Cascade in here, as well. How much? One cone?

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Photo of atsprings
3.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hadn't had this one in a while but remembered it's quite refreshing. Served a nice gold yellow with a thin head that lasts as a thin layer. Aroma was some sweet malt and just a hint of vanilla. The taste is a nice subtle blend of vanilla and malt. The beer is nice and light with a refreshing crisp bite. This is a decent beer if you're looking for summer refreshment.

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Photo of clemsonbrewer
4.07/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy lemon yellow appearance. HUGE white fluffy head that hangs around a long while. A thin head stays on the beer the whole time with good sticky lacing decorating the glass gracefully. Sweet grain smell. There's not a lot of vanilla in the smell like I had suspected but still a great smelling beer. Sweet grain taste with vanilla coming through in the end and hints of lemon shining through at random times. Such a creamy feel to it with a sweet citrus palate. This is a great brew from a brewery on the way up.

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Photo of beeragent
3.78/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Finally, I am able to try this brew. While on vacation in Tennessee, I was able to find a store that carried this. As a fan of vanilla beers, I have been waiting a few years to try this and it finally happened. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a glass. The beer pours a light clear straw, forming a good 1 inch head that slowly faded. The aroma is an interesting mix of vanilla and what smells like grain. The taste further brings out a grainy character, but also plenty of vanilla flavoring, along with a balanced hop and malt presence. Not complex, but still tasty. The mouthfeel is smooth and light. Low abv. and decent flavor make for a very drinkable beer. While not as sweet as some other flavored beers, this is still not something that I would want to drink continuously all night, but a great beer to start the night with or in between the heavy-bodied brews. Overall, well worth the wait IMO. I just wish this was available in Texas. Definitely worth seeking out on future out-of-state trips.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes to slcbrewer for this one.

Pours a cloudy darker yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white head, some islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, hoppy, some hint of vanilla, some caramel. The taste is malty/hoppy, some hint of vanilla, the finish is pretty dry. Medium body. Drinkable, not too bad of a brew, would be great for the hot days of summer.

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Photo of
3.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of bobbyc881

Hazy, pale yellow in color. Large, creamy, off-white head.

Aroma had vanilla (surprise!), but not too heavy handed. Spicy and citrusy. Bit of sweet character, kinda like honey.

Taste was very citrusy, mainly lemon. Taste was not really sweet at all. Aftertase showed some of the vanilla (faint) and grass.

Light in body. Almost too carbonated. Pretty dry.

Overall, a good summer beer. Simple, but easy to enjoy.

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Photo of Nesued
3.15/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Yellow/Golden in color. Clear with vibrant carbonation feeding the remains of a large white head that was at least a four-finger head. The remaining half-finger ring left a goodly bit of lacing on the sides.

Smell - Very yeasty is aroma. A corn presence as well with a bright aromatic twang as well.

Taste - Vanilla huh? hmmmm... dunno about that. Perhaps a subtle bit but I'll reserve further opinion and say nothing more than a passing fancy. Grainy as well.

Mouthfeel - A bit thin at first, built up a bit of a body once I washed it around a bit. Nothing that really made me stand up and take notice.

Drinkability - I tried this one at a beer-tasting a few months back. It tasted better then than it did now. Perhaps it was the environment. I don't think I'd buy another 6-pack.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finding just this strange cream ale, and nothing else from Thomas Creek (or all of SC) anywhere in the area, but just this, is why I love the Peace Street Market. Just tons of wacky, different stuff every month or so. At first, I thought this was a root beer, why else would vanilla be involved, but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

Head and lacing are snow white and fluffy. Body is a bright amber and translucent. Nose is fairly weak and doesn't remind you of beer at all. Taste is creamy and smooth with a blast of vanilla overriding the hops about halfway into the sip but finishes crisp and reasonably clean under the circumstances. Mouthfeel is solid and holds the taste together well.

I don't think this is something I'll be buying on a regular basis but it is original and worth trying.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.52/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Gotta' say, this was a fun beer to drink. Not that the quality was all that great, but I appreciate the creativity. I enjoyed the light ale flavors with the mild addition of vanilla. The beer takes on a confectionate-like sweetness (cotton candy-ish). The source of the sweetness is questionable until the vanilla aromas enter the ofactories. The a light buttery note accompanies the light fruity, estery maltiness. Tastes much the same as expected from the aromas. A soft sweetness up front, then increasing vanilla flavors toward the finish. The beer weakens into the finish with a light bitterness (not hop diriven). With the higher carbonation, the beer gets very cream-soda-like. A good thing, but it just doesn't mean it's a quality beer. I've got to give them cool points though.

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Photo of veech
3.6/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was a solid beer but the flavors were a little too strong for me personally. The appearance and smell were both good with vanilla dominating the nose. The taste was strong vanilla bean that trumped everything else. Mouthfeel was fine, but drinkability was hampered by the over the top vanilla flavor. This beer when blended with their doppelbock was much smoother and balanced. I would recommend blending it as the brewer's wife suggested when I sampled it.

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Photo of Graebner
3.17/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes compiled at the 2006 Southern Brewer's Festival:

Yellow-amber, mostly yellow, thick white head.

Smells of vanilla, wet dog, banana.

Taste is crisp lemon, refreshing vanilla, slight banana.

A clean hops finish, vanilla cream aftertaste.

Drinkable, but would sour after a while..not one I'm likely to order.

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Photo of kkipple
2.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap in Columbia, SC during a "Meet the Brewer" session where the Thomas Creek rep was present.

It's a pale clear golden beer, with a small white head. Nothing out of the ordinary for the style, really.

Smell? Was there a smell? I was just hit in the face by a vanilla club. I look at the glass again; are they sure they didn't pour from the vanilla extract bottle? Wow, this is intense. After a few more sniffs, there *may* be some hops cowering behind the 900 pound vanilla-beast, but they're hiding pretty well.

Taste? You mean, besides vanilla? The vanilla is running rampant through my mouth, finding the mild malts and anemic hops and terminating their worthless existence. The vanilla roars back again in my throat as I take another swallow, providing a very sweet aftertaste. My notes say "mostly vanilla. Cream Soda." Yep.

This is the most soft-drink like beer I've ever drunk. The mouthfeel has the exact carbonation of a cream soda, and it's sweet like one too. The sweetness and dominating vanilla really limits the drinkability on this one. They could lose half the vanilla and it'd still be more than enough.

Should you try it? Well, I still agree with my notes. This is the cream soda of beers. Make of that what you will.

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Photo of bditty187
2.81/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hazy, bright yellow-gold in hue with a smattering of bronze; it is a truly lovely color. White head, at the apex the foam was one finger tall. The bubbles quickly faded to a thin, soapy cap. There was some spotty subsequent lacing. I love how this beer looks; it is youthful and glowing, awesome!

The nose is totally unexpected. I smell lemony citrus and nondescript sweetness. I don’t smell vanilla and I don’t smell any corn. Cream Ale? Fooled me. Moderate potency, sadly at the back I smell soap. The nose is inoffensive but it’s not inviting, in fact I am confused and a little leery.

I taste vanilla. I am not a huge fan of vanilla in beer but this is nicely restrained. However, the vanilla tastes like flavored dish soap. No bitterness, no real hop flavors. It is sweet from start to finish, not much development. Where is the citrus coming from? It doesn’t seem like it arrived here from the hops. Cream Ale? BS, I am calling Thomas Creek’s bluff. The palate is odd. Frankly, it’s not that bad; I just don’t really care for it but I am positive others will. The more I drink the more the vanilla lingers. I don’t need more. If nothing else this was a wacky idea executed well enough, I mean, I didn’t gag. Now that is praise!

Medium/medium-light in body, creamy carbonation, the mouthfeel is pleasant. Unfortunately the aftertaste is tacky sweet and persistent. Maybe more effervescence would help clean my tongue. What on earth would this beer pair with?

Maybe the brewery should swap in some spicy/funky Belgian yeast. That combo might actually work! As is, I can’t rightfully enjoy this beer. It’s too sweet, too one-dimensional… too bad. I am surprised this beer is as good as it is, yet I think it could be so much better. Would a true Cream Ale jell with vanilla? I’ll never know! Thanks timtheenchanta for the bottle.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.87/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly overcast sunflower gold with pale lemon trim. The head is the very definition of rich cream, both in terms of color and consistency. It's wonderfully thick and sticky and leaves an impressive amount of lace in amorphous hunks and chunks. This is a great look for a cream ale.

I love the smell of vanilla. Since the nose is bursting with the essence of crushed, sugared vanilla beans, I love it as well. It still smells like beer, but only just. In fact, it's pretty damn close to the line that seperates cream ale and cream soda. I'm pretty sure the aroma (and probably the flavor) won't be to everyone's liking. Purists will probably turn up their noses.

Vanilla Cream Ale doesn't translate to the palate as well as I had hoped. It isn't bad, but I'm a little let down. I've gone from no expectations to high expectations to moderated expectations in the course of the last few minutes. It's actually possible to set the vanilla extract aside and appreciate the flavors of the underlying ale. Unfortunately, the base beer is little better than average. Whatever complexity the combination of pale, pils and caramel malt was meant to impart isn't readily appreciated.

The hop bill consists of two Germans (Hallertauer and Tettnanger), two Brits (Fuggles and East Kent Goldings) and a lone American (Cascade). I wonder why the brewers decided to include such a wide range of hop varieties in a vanilla cream ale. The Germans are the only ones that can be appreciated by my palate. Hop flavor and hop bitterness are, rightfully so, on the low end. The amount of vanilla that has been used is neither too much nor too little. Like the final bowl of porridge, it's juuust right.

The mouthfeel doesn't quite reach medium, but it's far from thin or watery. I like a fair amount of sweetness in my cream ales and I think this one would benefit from a sweeter flavor and a bigger, stickier mouthfeel. If the nose is (arguably) too much like cream soda, the flavor and mouthfeel aren't enough like it.

Thomas Creek Vanilla Cream Ale smells like a dream. Each time I raise the glass to my lips, I get a blast of sweet vanilla that only makes the flavor that follows pale in comparison. This is still a good little drinker, but it could be amazing if the mysteries of the nose could be unlocked and applied to the palate. Thanks to WOLFGANG for an interesting beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.97/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden body with lots of bubbling activity; huge, fluffy head that created an alpine panorama as it settled down; tons of lacing left behind

Smell: A vague lemony odor, but nothing much to sniff at

Taste: Nicely balanced vanilla malty flavor quickly followed by a pilsner-like bitterness; subtle and well-balanced

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and refreshingly carbonated; appropriate to the style

Drinkability: I wasn't expecting much when I bought this, thinking back to my college days with Genny Cream, but I was delightfully surprised at the uniquely approachable quality of this brew

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Photo of aracauna
3.92/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Tasted this at the Border Beer Bust and was a bit surprised. It was one the beers in the experimental category and it was a bit like drinking a cream soda without most of the sweetness. I almost scored it in second place for the category, but the lightness of the beer let it fall behind. Excellent flavor, the vanilla is balanced with the light straw malt and the low hopping makes it extremely drinkable. I could see turning on non-beer drinkers pretty easily with this beer.

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Thomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale from Thomas Creek Brewery
3.19 out of 5 based on 173 ratings.
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