Noche Dulce Vanilla Porter
Borderlands Brewing Co.

Noche Dulce Vanilla PorterNoche Dulce Vanilla Porter
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Porter - American
Ranked #852
Ranked #33,395
3.74 | pDev: 14.71%
Borderlands Brewing Co.
Arizona, United States
Very Good
Noche Dulce Vanilla PorterNoche Dulce Vanilla Porter
Notes: One way to describe this beer is “a dark beer for people who don’t like dark beers.” Another way is “delicious.” Notes of cocoa, espresso, and delicately roasted barley blend nicely with real Mexican vanilla from Arizona Vanilla Company. This medium bodied, highly sippable beer is quickly becoming a local favorite.

15.5 IBU
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 74 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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fedt from Arizona

4.41/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7.3% beer from a 16oz can
A: Super dark oily black, with some brown tones in there. Thick creamy head.
S: Tons of vanilla, followed by chocolate, and almost a dulce de leche smell
T: Thick sweet vanilla-y desert dessert. Dark roast like coffee and cacao. I get kind of a charred meat carbon taste at the end, along with the sweetness of the dark malt.
M: Medium-thick body, creamy, good carbonation
O: Pleased with this beer. Seems a little non-traditional but good when you're on a sweet vanilla kick. Good thing a got a 4-pack.

Aug 09, 2020
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lucius10 from California

3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Salty sweet chocolate, hints of vanilla aromatics on this one! Taste follows okay, but is a little bit thin on the finish...this takes away from enjoying the taste as much as the aromatics.

Oct 06, 2019
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matcris from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

LOOKS: very dark brown with a long lasting head and a decent lacing.
AROMA: Big vanilla and cocoa with dark roasted malts.
TASTE: Same. Delicious! Even balance between sweet and bitter.
FEEL: Nice and viscous, with average carbonation; just right. A little sticky and dries up on the finish.
OA: Superb.

Apr 08, 2019
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Cthulhusquid from Washington

4.52/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: One finger brown-white head, black body.

Smell: See below.

Taste: Milk and mild dark chocolate, vanilla, a hint of coffee.

Feel: Medium body, low-medium carbonation. Dry finish.

Apr 05, 2018
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Ninjakillzu from Washington

4.65/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. The body is very dark brown with a brown finger head. Aromas consist of chocolate syrup, vanilla, caramel, coffee, and marshmallow. Flavors are the same. The feel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Mar 23, 2018
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CLSimps from Arizona

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Almost a jet black pour with a thick tan head. The nose was a hint of vanilla, but was mostly roasted coffee, and chocolate. A very smooth taste, with very little bite and an easy finish. Layers of espresso, cocoa, and a little vanilla. If I have it again I’m leaving it out for a bit as it got better as it warmed.

Feb 02, 2018
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AZBeerDude72 from Arizona

4.34/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with rich foamy tan head and good lacing. Smells of fresh vanilla with chocolate, coffee, and barley. The taste follows the nose, very fresh vanilla mixed with coffee, chocolate notes, and creamy barley. Very smooth finish and zero bite, for 7.10 ABV I would never know it was. Awesome beer, gets even better when warming up, a lot more flavor, next beer will be room temp.

Sep 03, 2017
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Fee from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer. The vanilla is not overwhelming at all. It has a robust taste and is worth the trying. Nice smooth mouth feel - very flavorful. Very smooth.

Jan 15, 2017
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andrewh995 from Arizona

4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tons of sweet chocolate and vanilla flavors with an incredible mouthfeel. Great american porter. My favorite Tucson brew that I've found so far and they're a sustainable brewery.

Dec 30, 2016
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Thirstygoat from Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can this is a sweet beer. Smells and tastes much sweeter than say Victory at Sea ( a personal favorite)
That said this has an interesting malt-caramel -vanilla taste. It is hard to pick up even 15.5 IBU worth of hops. This is so sweet a pint seems a lot.

Jul 10, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Canned 4/11/16

Pours a huge frothy dark 2 finger head that fades slowly, some sticky lacing, super dark black beer, touches of brown light sneaking through.

Nose brings loads of vanilla, fresh vanilla and extra, some dark chocolate and creamy milk chocolate, mild roasted coffee and roasted malts, a faint acrid roast, some caramel, light creamy a little lactose like, and so much vanilla but not fake.

taste brings plenty of vanilla again, and again more like fresh vanilla and extracted but not fake, then bitter dark chocolate, baker's choc and bitter roast as well, a little acrid roasted coffee, into burnt coffee and acrid roast burnt, a little burnt caramel as well, touch yeasty with the acrid roast, sticky but dried lactose as well, also that slight metallic taste from bitter roast, and yeasty icky taste of beer that was initially under attenuated when it went into the bottle and fermented too much after. Finish is sticky dried lactose, more acrid roasted malt and burnt coffee burnt caramel, plenty of vanilla lingering.

Mouth is med to heavier bod, creamy lactose and caramel feel, too much carbonation, touch slimy.

Overall it started nice, great vanilla, caramel, and dark chocolate, but the metallic and roasted acrid flavor was not nice either, and especially the yeasty continuing to ferment too much in the bottle with the mild slimy and over carbonated feel.

Jun 23, 2016
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FernieAZ from Arizona

2.06/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Started off bitter on the palate, followed by an overly alcoholic/malty flavor. The sweet vanilla comes through at the end and on the aftertaste. Overall possibly one of my worst beer experiences. Line them up in the desert and practice your shooting, at least the end will be swift.....

May 31, 2016
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tucson_brewson from Arizona

2.73/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured on tap at Reforma into a pint glass.

L - Nearly jet black, no head, thin caramel-colored lacing

S - Vanilla, cocoa, spice, roasted coffee

T - They really take pride in using real Mexican vanilla. Very sweet up front, not much bitterness from the roasted malt to balance it out. A very sugary beer, but I've been on an IPA kick lately, so I am biased.

M - Not quite a knife-and-fork Guinness-thick, but sticky and not much carbonation, if any. Probably a characteristic of porters, but just an assumption.

O - Wanted something with a little more depth and warmth for the "cold" Arizona winter. The 7% ABV is present even though you barely taste any alcohol. A bit too sweet for my taste, but a decent attempt at a darker beer that boasts its use of Mexican vanilla. Probably would go with other porters/stouts.

Dec 18, 2015
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JebBeerFish from New Hampshire

3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Received in a trade. Beautiful dark pour, no head. Wonderful aroma of vanilla, chocolate and spice on the nose, unpleasant prominent plastic and chocolate with coffee taste.

Sep 08, 2015
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Auraan from Arizona

3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brownish black with a thin tan head that dissipated to a ring of lacing. Not as nice looking as many porters, but passable. Scents of vanilla, sweet milk chocolate and faint roast malt. A very sweet aroma, not as roasted character as I like in a porter, but fitting a sweet porter. Flavor begins with a big hit of vanilla with notes of milk chocolate. Moves into more pronounced chocolate flavors, mostly semi-sweet chocolate, with a nice strong undertone of vanilla and some faint roast malt. Finish is bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and some roast malt. Aftertaste is roast malt, vanilla and bitter cocoa. A good porter flavor profile that leans towards the sweeter side of the style, but it is quite nice. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied, with low carbonation and a smooth feel. A good, classic porter style. Overall this is a nice porter, with a good aroma and vanilla character, with a nice hit of chocolate and some slight roast malt.

Jun 10, 2014
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Lobina from Arizona

3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Revisiting my review. First time was when they first brewed this or at least early on or I was not paying attention. They now can this in 16 oz four packs. Enjoyed much more this time. Not too heavy on the vanilla although that wouldn't have bothered me. Overall well balanced.

Dec 21, 2013
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LXIXME from New Mexico

3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark colored beer with a lacing and head that's a bit light or small for an American porter yet the darkness of this beer is on point for the style. Milk chocolate aroma that is quite washed out but yet holds its sweetness with a bit of dark fruitiness that I can not discern. A very light dark chocolate shows up in the aftertaste that is a bit too washed out and not quite dry enough for my liking.

Apr 06, 2013
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Phelps from Arizona

3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Noche Dulce is the brewery's "Moonlight Vanilla Porter," made with flaked oats as well as vanilla sourced from Mexico. Poured into a snifter, the brew is dead black and completely opaque but thin and topped with an inch of silky, cocoa-colored foam. The nose delivers, in order of the strength of each: fresh vanilla beans, cola, cocoa, and roasted grains.

Noche Dulce's flavor can be accurately described as Vanilla Dr. Pepper with a splash of milk chocolate. In the front, complex vanilla notes blend with oats and the sweetness of brown sugar, cocoa, and maple. It's a fairly saccharine combination, and the mere 15.5 IBUs contributed by the hops do little to counteract the beer's sugars. Subtle toast rises at the swallow, leaving clean, straightforward toast and cocoa notes lingering after the finish.

Breckenridge Brewery makes a vanilla porter that's all over the place in Phoenix and has become something of a standard for the style. This beats it. As an Arizona State University graduate, I've often been of the mind that we should give Tucson back to Mexico -- but Noche Dulce is a tasty and drinkable porter that just might be enough reason to keep it around.

Jun 03, 2012
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bennetj17 from Arizona

3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a standard shaker glass, the pour doesn't allow for much of a head. The beer is almost jet black. Smell comes off as very toffee-like, not exactly vanilla, with little if any roastiness.

The taste is much like you would expect from the smell, with dominant toffee and vanilla notes. It's very smokey, almost like a charred, meaty flavor. The thing that's missing is the right balance of roasted malt character. The vanilla flavor comes off as sweet, but the beer itself really is not, and it's suprising that it could even be 7% ABV. I certainly don't taste the alcohol either. The mouthfeel has a decent fullness, but it's not really chewy or heavy. Decent carbonation.

Overall a bit of a one dimensional mess. The vanilla flavor is not subtle, and again it's more like toffee than pure vanilla. Despite the smoke character, the beer really needs that dry, roasty bitterness you expect in a porter to balance things out. I will say this was the most interesting of the three beers they had available, but they still have a long way to go.

May 27, 2012
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merryjoulton from Arkansas

4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my go-to brew at the Borderlands tasting nights on Friday nights, so I may be a little biased. This beer is served with a dark body and tinted ivory head that quickly fades to a ring at the edge of the glass. Nose is all sweet vanilla. Hints of baked goods bring good thoughts. Taste is sticky, sweet, and maybe a bit cloying... but in a good way. This tastes very thick and syrupy on the mouthfeel. Overall a superbly enjoyable beer.

Mar 04, 2012
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour from the growler produces a thick, two to three finger thick, well browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite black in appearance. Huge, over-the-top aromas of vanilla leap out of my glass; so much that this beer smells sticky sweet. Subtle porter notes are till noticeable in the finish though contributing a nice toasted nuttiness, milk chocolate and perhaps a hint of sweet coffee liquor. The sweetness and vanilla aromas become increasingly dominant as the beer warms up.

The beer has quite a bit more body than I was expecting from the websites description, rich bodied, though not quite cloying, there is a definite viscous quality to the texture and it certainly has some heft to it as it slides across the palate. The vanilla is of course the dominant flavor here, expressively so, but the base beer comes through a touch more than it does in the aroma. Porter flavors of roasted, coffee-like, burnt brown sugar, roasted lactose and somewhat burnt milk chocolate are all fairly noticeable, though clearly in a supporting role. As the beer warms up the vanilla really starts to accentuate the sweetness, this beer even becomes a bit cloying; this is most definitely a dessert-type beer. There is perhaps a hint of tartness to this beer, this is likely contributed by the ample roast malt / grain that is mostly hidden by the dominating vanilla character.

This beer is nothing likes its commercial description:

“There’s a huge misnomer that dark beers are heavy and bitter, and Borderlands is out to change this perception with Noche Dulce. Noche Dulce is smooth and light”

While it certainly is not bitter, this is most definitely a sweet tasting, thick, dessert beer; I am actually quite glad about this, as I was a bit worried that a dry, light porter with ample vanilla just wouldn’t quite work. You definitely have to like vanilla to like this beer; it reminds me quite a bit of Southern Tier’s Crème Brulee, it is quite a bit of a smaller beer and this is most definitely a good thing as this beer manages to not be so over the top cloying and almost gross in its sweetness. One can actually drink a pint or two of this beer quite easily (at least if you like vanilla), and I am certainly enjoying this beer, even more than I thought I would. It might just be that this beer is actually more balanced at really cold temperatures; at least at temperatures I don’t usually prefer, I would almost suggest 40*F or cooler for this beer if you are after more of the base beer character. This is most definitely a “one” note beer, it has just enough supporting character to make it work, but this is all about the vanilla.

Feb 18, 2012
Noche Dulce Vanilla Porter from Borderlands Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 74 ratings