Tent Pole Vanilla Porter | Bonfire Brewing Co.

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Tent Pole Vanilla PorterTent Pole Vanilla Porter
20 Ratings
Tent Pole Vanilla PorterTent Pole Vanilla Porter

Brewed by:
Bonfire Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheBrewo on 05-12-2013

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 4
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ControlVolume
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Relatively dry compared to most vanilla beers, still slightly sweet. Emphasizes the bready taste of porters for better or worse.

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Photo of 22Blue
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DrAnnaNemis
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Norvelljeff
4.95/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jrb378
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Dan_K
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bomber
Bottled On This Date: 9/25

Pours a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick creamy light tan head, which leaves some very nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is very nice malty, with lots of chocolate/toffee notes, nice vanilla note. The taste is very nice, malty, very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, vanilla, roasty/nuttyness. Medium body. Overall, this is a very tasty VP. Recommended!

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Photo of ShemRahBoo
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Appealing label art and sleek design. Unbranded silver pry-off cap. Bottled: 10/10/14. 1 pint 6 fl oz.

6.1% ABV. Reviewed live as a vanilla porter per the label. Served cold into a conical pint glass.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Four fingers wide. Khaki colour head. Creamy, foamy, frothy, and full, but not quite as thick as I'd expect. Nor as dark. Retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves webby uneven lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque black. Not a solid black or an ink black, but black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's about what you'd expect. Has no stand out characteristics. Meh.

AROMA: Vanilla bean is fainter than would be ideal, evoking little. Aside from that, I get some dark malt sweetness and cream, but little else. A bit of buried roast. Some caramel.

It's a reticent aroma of below average intensity, and fails to evoke vanilla as much as it ought to. How about some milk chocolate, more creaminess, or lactose sugar? This aroma suggests a painfully simple brew with a generic build and a modicum of vanilla.

Dull as it is, it has no egregious yeast notes or alcohol or anything else that would be inappropriate within the style. No off-notes.

TASTE: It does bring the vanilla, but the vanilla isn't quite the authentic vanilla bean that would be ideal nor is it the artificial vanillin/vanilla extract that would be atrocious. It hesitates somewhere in the middle, and isn't evoked as fully as would be ideal. It does mix well with the cream, though, and there is a bit of chocolate malt sweetness here. Still, the flavour profile is reticent overall, and no constituent note is ever fully embraced. I find no roasted barley, to its detriment. Don't look for anything interesting: it boasts no lactose sugar, no oats, no milk chocolate...it's a pretty generic build for a vanilla porter - but I do like it. And it doesn't do anything egregious: there's no yeast or hop presence; it isn't boozy; there are no off-notes.

Still, depth of flavour is painfully shallow, and the flavour duration is brief. Flavour intensity I guess is average - at best. It ticks the boxes it needs to to be a vanilla porter, but it comes off wanting and uninspired - like a homebrewer's first decent stab at a clone of a better vanilla porter. That said, it is decently balanced to its credit, and there's enough complexity that it's not as boring as it could be. Not a subtle or intricate brew by any means, but certainly an enjoyable one.

TEXTURE: Creamy, smooth, wet, aptly carbonated, fairly soft, medium-bodied, and sufficiently thick. This texture complements the taste nicely, but fails to elevate the beer and doesn't accentuate or coax out nuances of any of the flavour profile's constituent notes. Nice execution, but could use tinkering. Pretty nice overall presence on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, scratchy, dragging, or rough.

OVERALL: It hides its ABV nicely enough, and I'll no doubt finish the bottle - and enjoy doing it. But this is the most pedestrian, generic, and forgettable vanilla porter I've had this year, and I won't be buying it again...though I might consider it if this were offered in 6 packs and at a better per-ounce price point. That said, this is easily the best beer I've had so far from Bonfire (not that that's saying much). I do have to say, I expected at least that the vanilla bean would come off authentic and genuine given the use of Madagascar vanilla beans.

Critical as I am of this brew, I do find it gets better as it warms - the vanilla opens up more, and the dark malt sweetness starts to emerge. Surely, this is above average - just not world class.

High C+

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Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rkarimi
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Haybeerman
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of WDJersey
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of drone
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Basoos1
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

four pack of pint cans, these guys have done a nice job with packaging since the canning line went in. a good robust porter with notes of natural vanilla. nearly black in color, with a short lived half inch of cream colored head. aroma is barley thats close to burnt, earthy and bitter, with some bakers chocolate and alcohol extracted vanilla. its not as sweet as whole beans, and not as artificial as most extracts. its nice, rich but drinkable, warming. bitter in the finish which i like a lot, but seems a little thin in body for all the flavors going on, and the carbonation is definitely a little underdone, but its a palate coating brew that is nice in cold weather. i like this more now than i did at the brewery, it seems more carefully constructed. i also like the base beer, i think this would make a fine porter sans vanilla, which is of course where you need to start to have a successful vanilla porter. job well done overall.

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Photo of steamboatbrewer
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of XmnwildX12
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of TheBrewo
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to StoneTrippin for this one. It’s always fun to try the ultralocal stock. We crack the top on a bottle stamped with “Apr 0 3 2013”, pouring a brew of dark Tootsie Roll brown. It holds a one finger head of variably sized cocoa colored bubbles, showing nice retention, and leaving specks and patterns of lacing down the glass as it slowly simmered away. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be light. The aroma gives a good base roast of raw coffee beans, hearty chocolates, cold cornbread, and big toasty brown malts. To balance are notes of unpopped popcorn, surprisingly robust floral hoppiness, raisin granola, tinny metallics, oat, faint diacetyls, and freshly picked cotton. With warmth comes spice of vegetal cayenne pepper, sweet booziness, chocolate syrups, peanut, medicinal phenols, and Styrofoam. Our first impression is that the inherent acidity and sourness of the coffee comes through quite strongly, trumping the otherwise roasty and gritty base maltiness. As we sip, the taste opens with soured coffee bean and corny grain, big roasted chocolates, bitter brown maltiness, metallic vanilla bean rawness, baked beans, vegetal airs, and soft citric and grassy hoppiness. The peak is the mildest component of the sip, with white sugar sweetness, iced water, lemon rind, sourdough yeastiness, and continued bitter coffee graininess. Washing through the finish is a mix of earthiness, raw whole wheat dough, gravel, vanilla extract, grassy hoppiness, dusty honeycomb, and continued coffee metallics. The aftertaste breathes of roasted coffee beans, soured acidity, coiny metallics, chalky yeast, light woodiness, popcorn, mild piney hops, peanuts, and soft booziness. The body is light, and the carbonation is medium. Each sip gives nice slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop. The mouth is nicely coated and cooled, with eventual astringency down the tongue. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its flavoring. The base maltiness showed experienced roast, grit, and fire, with decent representation of sweeter sugars and the faintest hoppiness. The vanilla did get a bit lost at points, and we never really experience that strong bite we were hoping for from the description. The coffee, however, was definitely well presented, with earthiness and metallic inclusions that went on for days. The nose gave a curious nuttiness that helped keep things unique and intriguing, while the sip was as smooth and creamy as you would expect. This was an interesting brew to try, and it definitely worked on many levels, but we do wish there was more of an ultimate blend between the roasts and the sweets.

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Tent Pole Vanilla Porter from Bonfire Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 20 ratings