Vanilla Barrel-Aged Framinghammer | Jack's Abby Brewing

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Vanilla Barrel-Aged FraminghammerVanilla Barrel-Aged Framinghammer

Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Resuin on 05-02-2013

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Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 886
Photo of robroc
3.67/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one was a letdown. I paid about the same price for this 16.9 oz bottle as I do for a 4-pack of the base beer. I think the base beer tastes better. The bourbon barrel taste isn't very noticeable, and neither is the vanilla.

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Photo of pagriley
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into snifter

Pours a bit thin with a tall fluffy white head
Smells of barrel, but not a lot of vanilla coming through
Taste is the same - hot and boozy even at room temp - tastes like the barrels had a solid few bottles of bourbon left in the bottom
Lighter bodied but solid

Overall just an okay barrel aged beer - nothing special, and no vanilla to be found...

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Photo of thebeers
3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from the cooler at the brew pub and drank the same day. Mahogany black with two thick fingers of very bubbly, cola-colored head that's amazingly quick to dissipate into nothingness. Nutty aroma of rich dark malts with a touch of bourbon behind. Nutty porter flavors with a good dose of bourbon, heavy natural vanilla and some alcohol burn. Bitter hop aftertaste. Thick, creamy mouthfeel. Fairly still. Honestly, sort of a weird mix here. The sum seems less than the individual parts, IMO. I was disappointed by the zero head retention and lacing; the nuttiness and hops in the porter, to me, didn't meld well with the bourbon or vanilla; and, while I appreciated the natural vanilla flavors, rather than artificial ones in many vanilla beers these days, it started to seem pretty heavy-handed as the bottle went on. Despite the high rDev here, I think I'm actually being generous in my rating.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

Pours a dark brown color nearing black. The aroma is big with vanilla, bread and roasted malts. The taste follows suit with vanilla, which seems slightly muted by the dark bread like lager yeast. There is also a bit of acrid smoke and pretty much tastes like a vanilla coffee. Just trace bourbon and vanilla grows ax it warms. The strength of the beer cannot be tasted. Light bodied on the palate with soft carbonation. A very good overall brew.

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Photo of n2185
3.79/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours black with a finger of tan head that fades into a frothy ring with no lacing.

S: Vanilla dominates here with roasted malts, sweet cocoa, and creamy milk chocolate.

T: Roasted malts here as well with strong flavors of vanilla, cocoa, and semi-sweet chocolate. There is a light char flavor as well before a moderately boozy finish.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer could use a little creamier body to smooth over the boozy finish.

O: An enjoyable beer, overall. Not terribly complex, but lots of nice chocolate and vanilla flavors going on.

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Photo of mynie
3.86/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A half liter bottle purchased direct from the brewery and then consumed the next day.

Pours opaque black with a small brown head. Smells aggressively of bourbon. Even as it warms, and even after several sips, no especial vanilla nodes are present.

Tastes a bit smoother and more complex. Bourbon starts things off, moving into a middle of burny chocolate, finishing on fiery porter barley.

It's good, yeah, but not quite what I was hoping for--the whiskey and alcohol nodes override everything else and the vanilla is barely noticeable. I'm going to let the other bottles age a while in the hopes that they mellow out.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black but no real head. Thin collar. Nothing else.

Smell - Roasty malts, but it isn't really strong. No real barrel, but vanilla comes through.

Taste - Much more barrel. Vanilla. Bourbon. Roasted malt. Some bright flavors come through. Clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Maybe too thin.

Overall - Better flavor than any other aspect. Tastes good, but it would probably be better as an ale.

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Photo of Pahn
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a 2 inch tan pillowy head with great retention and lacing (lace wall). Pours black / very dark brown.

Smell: From the bottle and after first pouring it, surprisingly smoky, meaty aroma. I remember Framinghammer being sweeter. Big vanilla note comes out quickly and begins dominating the aroma, with smoky highlights. Eventually some cola and caramel emerge, but it's still mostly vanilla.

Taste: First sip: tons of vanilla, like the smell of homemade vanilla extract; it's not a one-note flavor, it's sweet ice-cream-like vanilla along with those luxurious, rounded, darker vanilla flavors. The dead metaphor 'vanilla', as in "Install a vanilla copy of Windows, ie one with nothing added to it," is shown to not really be accurate by these flavors. The booziness of Framinghammer amplifies the vanilla flavors. With time, some cola and sugary pastry flavors come out.

All told, rather smooth. The vanilla almost threatens to be too much, but as I get deeper into the glass the impression I'm getting is "smooth, dangerously easy drinking beer with lots of vanilla tones and some boozy malty notes." Lots of heat in the finish, but so easy drinking.

Flavors get welcomely more complex with time, but it never strays far beyond the light roundedness described above.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Creamy but light; more "smooth/silky" than creamy I guess. Slight, pleasantly dry finish. Not as hot in the mouth as it is in the chest.

Overall: This beer doesn't soar, but it's very nicely made. Way smoother than you expect, and probably too much vanilla (I suspect I'll enjoy the other variants more), but high quality. Love the mouthfeel; subtly dry, light for the style but not watery, hot but not oppressive.

I'm not in love, but I'm not disappointed either. Would I buy it again for $7~8? Yeah, I would. I'd put it away and hope for the vanilla to fade a bit, but I'd repeat buy this for sure.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 vintage. 160z. bottle into Night Shift stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a luxurious .5 finger light mocha colored head with moderate to low retention. Beer is pitch black but not too dense. Lacing is stringy and spotty with low stick. Legs are oily, slick and rich. Pretty nice.

Nose is vanilla, roast, smoke, cocoa powder, liquorice, brownie and booze. Robust and thick. Flavors together are aromatic but each component is pretty mellow.

Opens big, creamy, sweet vanilla notes that descend into flavors of chocolate, roast, smoke, liquorice and cocoa powder. Some brownie and booze sweetness in the middle mixed with hints of coarse burnt malt. Ends more vanilla and boozy sweetness. Same aftertaste. DRINK FRESH! The vanilla presence is huge in this one and it'll only fade with time.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Chewy and smooth on the palate and goes down rich with some bubbles at the end. Accented finish with a long, lingering aftertaste. Solid.

Certainly a unique vanilla-based imperial beer if only due to the fact that the vanilla flavor is so prominent throughout the experience. Drink this one fresh to really get a feel for what vanilla can do for the flavor profile.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into a Duvel tulip. Thanks Brian!

A: Black body under an inch of creamy tan head. Great retention and lacing. Gorgeous.

S: Rich vanilla, bourbon-soaked oak, lively spice, and faint dark fruit. Terrific.

T: Hmm. Vanilla starts things off well enough, but harshly astringent roasted malts combine with booze on the rough finish. The aftertaste is a little better with some dark chocolate and whiskey, but overall it's a bit of a chore to drink.

M: Creamy, soft, and substantial. Great.

O: The vanilla is a big help, but still can't entirely compensate for the rough edges of the regular BA version.


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Photo of keithmurray
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark brown body with khaki colored head

Smell - chocolate, vanilla, fudge, oak

Taste - vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, some barrel characteristics

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, lower level of carbonation, slight sweetness upfront from the vanilla and chocolate, barrel characteristics are not as prominent as other beers in the category, finish is of vanilla and chocolate fudge , not very boozy

Overall - a slight letdown, barrel is not very prominent, but the other flavors work well. Worth a try

Price Point - $ 8.99/16.9 oz bottle

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Photo of stakem
3.97/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle into a tulip. The brew appears black in color with brown clarity around the edges and a thick khaki head resting atop.

The smell is sweet with vanilla then roasty coffee and chocolate. There are some mineral elements also present but its not distracting in the grand scheme of things.

The taste is roasty chocolate with sweet vanilla covering up most of the barrel nuance. Some minerals and alcohol evolve with a bit of earthiness.

This is medium bodied with modest carbonation. Overall a sweet roasty treat but im missing the barrel character behind the slight overload of vanilla.

 598 characters

Photo of SFC21
4/5  rDev -7%

Nice base beer, although a little thinner than I expected it to be. Vanilla is very much front and center here, not just a complimentary flavor. A good amount of roasty flavors as well, even a little bit of smoke. Overall this works nicely, enjoyed it.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The vanilla falls off quickly. "Fresh" bottles have an almost fake vanilla flavor. It's a decent option for the New England market, but regular barrel-aged version is better. The other variants are the same price and are worth seeking out over this particular version.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very dark mahogany, with a tan ring, and arms of pointy, soft lace.

Sticky sweet vanilla on the nose, followed by oak.

This is an “almost” Marshmallow Handjee, but not quite. It's like a chewy candy treat, dipped in chocolate. A little cloying at first, but a nuttiness brings it back down to tolerable levels.

Nice and frothy. Anyone looking for the BVDL experience, it doesn't get much closer than this, at least with this kind of accessibility. How is this going under the radar?

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Photo of Damian
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pint .9 fl. oz./.5 liters bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA
March 2013 vintage
Served in a snifter

A tight, foamy, mocha colored head topped the deep brown/black liquid. The crown faded rather quickly to a thick ring of froth. Sheets of lacing initially coated the glass with every sip. Later, the lacing dissipated to some spotty drips.

Roasted malts and a crisp, smooth, lager-like yeasty quality came through in the aroma. Sweet, chocolatey notes, which reminded me a lot of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, appeared as well. Not a super complex nose, but pleasant. With time, the vanilla came out in full force. Incredibly fresh and intense, like whole vanilla beans. Some brown sugar sweetness was also noticeable.

The flavor profile unfortunately lacked the intensity and the smoothness of the aroma. Lots of deep, dark, roasted malts up front. Hefty amount of char. Some astringent woodiness in the center. Touch of brown sugar-like sweetness. Subtle vanilla notes appeared on the back end and in the finish. Hints of bourbon. A bit of alcohol heat was detectible but, at 10% ABV, it was quite well buried. As the beer continued to warm, the vanilla flavor became more apparent.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied for the style. Creamy, smooth and slick but slightly thin for the style. The liquid contained a moderate amount of carbonation.

After tasting and reviewing all four variants of Jack's Abby's Framinghammer Baltic Porter, it seemed that this beer fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. While it lacked the charred, astringency of Framinghammer and the booziness of Bourbon Barrel Aged Framinghammer, the vanilla did not "wow" me like the coffee flavor did in the Barismo Coffee version.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle purchased as a single from Adams Hometown Market, Monson, MA.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head skims rather promptly, with leggy slow-falling lace. Aroma is roasty dark grains with ample alcohol and sweetness.

Taste is sweet vanilla and dark maltiness to start, dark fruits in the middle, and then cruises to the close with vanilla and alcohol. Slight numbing after swallow. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is easy. Nice subtle changes here.

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Photo of brentk56
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a great bubble show that releases a tan mountain of a head; plenty of dotty lacing

Smell: Smells a bit like an old-fashioned vanilla/chocolate soft-serve swirl but Bourbon tones identify this as an adult beverage

Taste: Chocolate and vanilla tones, up front, with growing Bourbon barrel flavors; warm and boozy, after the swallow, with brown sugar sweetness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: My favorite of the three variants I have tasted thus far but this still lacks the dark fruit aspect I am seeking

Thanks, mj0126, for the opportunity

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Photo of sittinggc
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass...proper glassware has broken lol.

Look: Black. Not pitch black. Translucent as poured. Brown head which dissipates quickly.
Smell: Tons of bourbon on the nose. Also caramel and roastiness.
Taste: Lots of bourbon up front, as in the aroma. Also get espresso, burnt not pick up much vanilla.
Feel: A bit thin and a slight prickle from carbonation.

Overall: A good BA beer. Though the flavor is a bit dominated by bourbon, there is enough other flavors to complement it. Glad I got to taste this one.

Edit: As the beer warmed, I got a lot more bourbon heat. A bit harsh.

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Photo of ManapuaMan
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasting notes from a while ago - had it on tap at the brewery. Served a bit too cold so I let warm for a few minutes. Aroma was muted at first but the roasted malt, vanilla extract and some booze surfaced. Taste is smoked/roasted malt, vanilla extract, dark fruit. Vanilla seemed to take center stage a step opposed to playing a supporting role. Mouthfeel is thick and leaves a nice sweet coating that isn't cloying. Bigger fan of the coffee and "plain" BBA versions but this is still an outstanding Baltic porter.

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Photo of -Rick
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a light brown head. This beer smells of light coffee, and a heavy vanilla bean. The taste is like the nose, vanilla with slight coffee hints. There is a definite alcohol taste in this, I bet with time under it, this will be a great porter. Looking forward to trying another one over the winter.

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Photo of smcolw
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Moderate beige head that settles to a single layer of bubbles. Leaves a ring of lace after each sip. Deep ruby brown color where light passes through the base of the glass only.

The aroma is of cream and dark toast. The vanilla is very subtle, almost not present to the nose. There's a bit of dark cherry in the background.

Very creamy in both flavor and texture. The roasted malts come through and taste a bit like almonds. Again, little distinct vanilla flavor, but combination of flavors is quite rich--a bit like a fudge brownie. The carbonation is low which enhances this. There's a bit of alcohol warmth in the swallow. The aftertaste is short but features a lot of chocolate.

It would be hard to have two of these--a real dessert beer.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing this under the BA vanilla framinghammer listing as per previous listings assertions that plan ol' vanilla framinghammer hasn't been brewed in a while. That being said I'm pretty darn sure the beer I am currently drinking never saw a barrel. Either way... black, its black. Coffee colored head, tight bubbles, scant lacing, nice looking porter. Aroma is of cacao, milk chocolat, and vanilla, its a clean aroma. It is an assertive aroma. Incidently I always find beers with vanilla to have a bit of a plastic-y quality in the aroma and taste. Taste complements the aroma. Roasty cacao married o vanilla, like mexican chocolate. Appropriate bitterness is lent from hops and roast. This beer should be more chewy, but it has a dense body and a relatively clean finish with a slight bitter chocolate lingering around the tongue.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Date was smudged, but looks like it was bottled 3/31/2016. In the glass, it appears to be a dark chestnut color with burnt ruby amber visible where the light hits it. It's topped with a slowly dissipating toasted tan head. The smell is sweet toffee, molasses, milk chocolate, roasted almonds, vanilla bean, oak, belgian yeast notes, and some dark fruits. Medium mouth feel with lots of carbonation; sweet, clean finish. The flavor has lots of vanilla, burnt caramel, raisins, cocoa, coffee with a ton of creamer, earthiness, hazelnut, roasted malts, and fruity yeast. The barrel aging gives this more depth and complexity than the base beer. It's still a little thin for my preference but this is a very clean, easy drinking baltic porter.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16.9 ounce bottle poured into a stout/porter glass.

Pour produces a thick, cushion-like coffee-with-milk-colored head. Persists well. Shows good carbonation. Body seems pitch-black but has hues that lean towards darker brown. It's a fine looking brew sitting in a glass.

There's a potent order surging from the glass and I get something Dr. Pepper-like and certainly reminiscent of vanilla. Dark chocolate thickness and sweetness have me thinking of brownies. Dessert anyone? A tad of alcohol is detectable but mostly this is appealing to the nose.

Brownies still seem an appropriate descriptor for this brew as I'm getting abundant sweet, almost gooey, dark chocolate with a lingering vanilla finish. It tastes a bit boozy, but not so much as the PB&J which was almost undrinkable booze-laden. It's a bit oaken and somewhat suggestive of bourbon, but I'm again left thinking of brownies, albeit boozier ones.

As with the PB&J, there's a boozy heat that seems in need of toning down, but it's not nearly as harsh and unpleasant here. I can roll with this one because enough creaminess and sweetness are present to offset the booze.

Of the three Framinghammers I've had, this one seems to have the most character. I like it. I have a few more I have to try, but this may be the winner. It isn't flawless, but a year or two of age could change that.

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Vanilla Barrel-Aged Framinghammer from Jack's Abby Brewing
4.3 out of 5 based on 886 ratings.
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