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Willy Vanilly | Alpine Beer Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
35 Reviews
THE BROS
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Willy VanillyWilly Vanilly
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The base for this beer is Willy Wheat. They add Vanilla to the tanks during aging. Try mixing it with Alpine's Captain Stout for a Captain & Vanille.
Draft availability only.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
35
Ratings:
181
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
25.6%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
13
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 181
Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a wheat ale glass.

Pale lemon body, with a bit of clarity and some nice amounts of carbonation, just a touch of haze and green color as well. Head is a bit fizzy, bright white, making maybe two fingers and dissolving pretty quickly. Leaves behind a thin topped puck, and a light white collar.

Definitely got a vanilla action going on. Nice mix with the malt as there is a sweet biscuit and even a dry crackery aroma to go along with it too. Definitely got that light digestive cookie thing going on here which is kind of neat. Solid and inviting.

Palate hits with a lot of fun. Crisp slightly and bubbly accenting lots of biscuit and cracker flavors on first sip. Lots of washing vanilla all over the palate making for nice cookies and almost cream flavor. A bit gaseous on the finish unexpectedly as well, and leaves behind a simple malt presence for going classic density.

A real fun brew, and what a good vanilla beer more importantly should taste like.

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Photo of pkalix
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

really wanted to try this one for awhile. pours an interesting head-y white which goes away quickly. got some vanilla off the pour but and adjunct-like grainy, corn-y whiff after that. taste is bland although i get the vanilla at the end and with the belch. not a great brew, but easy to drink and probably really likable by the girlfriend! i guess beer is made for everyone, right? my bottle says 5.5%, not 4.9%.....

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Photo of JamieDuncan
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Light clear golden pour, limited white, almost fizzy head that dissipated quickly and almost completely. More grainy than bready, not picking up much vanilla. Sweet grainy taste with a late vanilla punch that seemed artificial. Kinda sharp feel with a bit of a lingering hop. Overall I would give them credit for creativity but it really did not seem to work, everything seemed out of balance.

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Photo of jzlyo
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is vanilla and very grainy wheat. The flavor is wheat, vanilla, spices, light sweetness and a mix of slight sourness and graininess in the finish.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a nice fuzzy white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer itself is a nice gold color that is pretty pleasant to look at.

The smell is nice. It has a nice and strong vanilla note with a bit of wheat creaminess cut by a bitter floral hop note.

The taste is pretty good. It has a strong vanilla bean note that mixes well with the wheat but odd with the bitter hop note.

The feel is a light body with a bit more weight than you would expect. The feel is smooth with some nice biting carbonation.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer because of the vanilla notes despite the hop note constantly interrupting it. It's a bit of an awkward contrast but the strong vanilla wins out and makes it a decent beer to have or, at least, worth trying.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy, straw gold with a thin, white head.
A slight vanilla smell.
Nice, refreshing wheat beer with a kiss of vanilla.
Very crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of avalon07
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a weizen glass. Had a straw-gold color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Lacing is a bit spotty.

S: A nice aroma of a lot of vanilla and a lot of wheat, but not much else. Still, very pleasant.

T: Tasted of a ton of vanilla, a good shot of wheat, a little maltiness, some citrus (lemon), a creamy quality, a little honey, and some spices mingled in. The flavor here is definitely dominated by the vanilla and wheat, but the other ingredients help to balance it out. I thought it was a bit thin in the finish, but it seemed to be better as it went along.

F: A fair amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: Willy Vanilly is a solid APWA, light, refreshing and in general, well made.

 784 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, pale, straw yellow coloring with a steady flow of carbonation going through the body, feeding a low profile, bubbly, clingy, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, with hints of lemon, and hints of sweet vanilla. Flavors are heavier on the vanilla than the aromas were, and this is a creamy, rich blast of vanilla, all on a toasted grain backbone, with some subtle bready and citrus highlights. Smooth bodied, with a creamy vanilla and sugary aftertaste. Light, smooth, slightly effervesced finish, with a subtle vanilla linger.

 588 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer the soft wheat taste really compliments the vanilla body which was constant but not strong. May want to try it again but was raped by the single price of $4.50 so if I can find a reasonable six pack I would drink it again.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours - Clear golden color decent white head good lacing.

Smell - Vanilla, wheat, sweet malts, little bit of honey.

Taste - The vanilla comes out much more in the taste than the smell, wheat, reminds me of a sweet cereal, very smooth.

Feel - Lighter body, great feel, good carbonation and very smooth.

Overall - I am not a big fan of wheat beers but I really like this one, great flavor.

 391 characters

Photo of teromous
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The left side of the wrap around label says "Best By: 05NOV16 F16132"

Appearance: It has a light straw colored body that is slightly hazy with a good deal of visible carbonation. The head stays up but it is rather short for a wheat beer. It is pure white and remains even across the surface.

Aroma: It has a tangy aroma that is very characteristic of wheat. There is a bit of a cereal sweetness to the scent of the beer. The label mentions that this beer is brewed with vanilla but it does not appear in the aroma.

Taste: There is a light sweet grain flavor and a bit of a nutty character as well. There is a light tangy bite to the beer. In the first sip I felt like I did taste some vanilla but after that the tangy character of the beer really overpowered the palate and I got no vanilla at all. Overall The beer just tastes like a decent wheat beer.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth with a medium thickness to the body. It doesn't weigh heavy on the palate but if feels thick while drinking it.

Overall: Any time you put vanilla on the label of a beer you need to have the chops to back it up. This beer doesn't have those chops. It is a decent wheat beer but it never escapes the realm of wheat. It's not really a beer I would buy again or recommend another person to buy but like most of these "middle of the road" beers I wouldn't turn it down if somebody handed it to me.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is really good, its the right kind of sweet because the vanilla is real authentic, it makes this the new standard for pale vanilla beers in my mind. wheaty base, i have not had the base beer plain yet, but this is killer, and i couldnt imagine it without the vanilla after this one. a little haze to a pale yellow beer with an inch of white head served in a pint glass. it doesnt look anything out of the ordinary. the nose is sweet vanilla cream, supported by some nice cerealy wheat structure. in the taste the vanilla really does take over the beer, but its genuine, like whole beans, the difference between french vanilla ice cream with the specks and plain vanilla without them. just way better. medium body, some residual sugar but the flavorless yeast dries this up pretty well. i found it real easy down, and even refreshing still for something like this. i even was close to ordering a second one, which is unheard of for me int his style. way better than any of its peers in the vanilla cream or vanilla wheat categories. an outstanding offering from alpine, a little departure from their hoppy wheelhouse, but i like it a whole lot. not much could be improved upon here, this rules.

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Photo of Suds
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 ounce bottle, this hazy , yellow brew isn't visually attractive. The aroma is of grain, grass, and a hint of wheat twang. Bit of a woody, burnt smell. In spite of the name, there isn't any real aroma of vanilla. However, after a few sips, it comes out in the taste, after which, vanilla is inseparable from every aspect of the beer. Medium in body. Interesting, but not great.

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Photo of Buck89
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Mildly hazy golden straw color. Almost nonexistent head with no retention. Aroma is wheat, bread, cracker, and a hint of vanilla. Much more vanilla on the taste - not overdone but the main player. Backed with bread, cracker, dough, and cereal. Lively carbonation and light-bodied.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Hardwood Artisans shaker pint glass
From: Bine & Vine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.34 (10 pct. off for 6-pack deal)
Purchased: May 4, 2016
Consumed: May 10, 2016
Misc.: Best by Oct 29, 2016 because of course Green Flash would do that to an Alpine bottle; Bottle reads 5.5 pct. ABV

I live in Alpine and had not yet tried this one yet, one of the only few of the regulars. Had been meaning to, but things just never worked out. Regretting that I am trying it out of a bottle with (most likely) Green Flash’s stank all over it. Will review it as is and hoping for the best.

Poured a golden, straw, semi-clear color with one finger of off-white, fizzy head. Multiple bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Poor lacing. Poor retention. (Sight - 2.75)

Smell reminded me basically of the Willy Wheat Ale base beer, getting cereal, honey, sourdough bread, grassy wheat, vanilla and saltine crackers. Did grow on me a bit with some more whiffs. (Smell - 3.50)

Tasted much better than the nose. Was like vanilla cream cereal. Getting vanilla, vanilla cream soda, sugary milk at the end of cereal (Lucky Charms coming to mind), sourdough bread, Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios, earthy grass, vanilla cookies and hints of saltine crackers. (Taste - 4.00)

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish. (Feel - 3.75)

Really enjoyed this one, much more than I thought I would. I’m sure the real Alpine was much better (saying that as I’m 80 percent sure this was a Green Flash job). Nice summer brew as well. (Overall - 3.75)

3.73 | 84 | B

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellow, plenty of chillz haze or whatever you call it. Smacks heavy of vanilla both in the aroma and taste. Really mild wheat presence to amplify the amount of vanilla ratio wise. Mildly carbonated. Just a vanilla bomb without much subtlety. I dig it, it does improve the base.

 282 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4.79/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

From look and feel, this is a pretty good wheat beer, basically as one would expect from a brewery with the pedigree that Alpine has. The head retention is fair, the color is hazy and clean, all in all, it's almost a textbook APWA - that is, in look and feel.

Taste and Aroma, however, are the outliers. The taste is pure vanilla (no shock based on the name) but not cloying or hot as might be expected. The aroma reminds me of baking cookies as a child.

Overall, this beer is wonderful.

 489 characters

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Raul is ineffable. Raul does not know what to think. To think that he likes a beer called "Willy Vanilly" is crazy; like, Lindsay Lohan behind a wheel "crazy!" Beautiful vanilla notes on the nose, and a small flourish of the same on the tongue.

Not an every day brew, or even a weekly one, but, woot!

 302 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alpine brewpub. Cloudy yellow appearance, thin white head.

Tons of vanilla in the nose, man this is heavy. Possibly the most vanilla I've ever smelled in a beer.

Light wheat smoothness accompanied by the heavy dose of vanilla. Light orange in the mouthfeel. Pretty mild malt bill. The heavy vanilla probably obscures its minimalism.
Carbonation is probably a little lower than most wheat beers.

I think you really have to be a vanilla fan to be into this beer. I like vanilla, but I can't see drinking this in mass quantities like the hoppy offerings from Alpine. Its a soft wheat and massive vanilla bomb. I liked it, a vast improvement over the non vanilla willy.

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Photo of DocJitsu
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, classic golden color with a quickly evaporating yellow-white head. Vanilla aroma up front competing with wheat malt. A very light body with nice, but more carbonation than is usual for this style. I was concerned vanilla would be too powerful as evidenced by the aroma. Very nicely balanced as it turns out. Easy to drink and pleasant overall.

 358 characters

Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at the brewpub.

Pours a pale golden yellow color with a one finger white foam head that slowly fades into a thin ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly spicy aroma with lots of vanilla complimenting the bready yeast notes. Subtle citrus presence compliments the prominent vanilla.

Medium bodied but fuller than expected with bready yeast, and lots of vanilla.  The vanilla flavor dominates providing a lot of sweetness that compliments the bread notes but takes away from the citrus and spice.  Some banana and lemon peel along with some subtle clove/pepper.  Could use a bit more balance.

 606 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery.

App: Hazy light gold, small white cap of foam. Average retention; spotty lacing.

Smell: Strong vanilla aroma dominates, mild wheat and maltiness underneath.

Taste: Very much like the nose; extremely vanilla-forward; a little bit artificial and extract-tasting; on the sweet side, with a thin, non-descript wheat flavor and next to no hop presence. Cream soda meets beer.

Mf: Crisp, fairly clean, but thin and watery. Vanilla sweetness lingers a bit in the aftertaste.

Overall: Just a bit too much vanilla for such a mild, easy-drinking thin-bodied beer. Felt like an odd combination; a light beer with vanilla extract. There’s no booziness and the flavoring is well integrated but it's just not all that good (to me), unfortunately.

 762 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a pale straw color with a ring of pure white head; no lacing but decent retention. Nose is mostly vanilla with a touch of the base wheat beer and banana. Tastes like vanilla abstract in a wheat beer, a bridge too far in overpoweringness and artificiality. Light carbonation and creamy texture on a medium body. I don't get the existence of this beer. Artificial vanilla extract in a wheat beer which drowns any redeeming qualities.

 462 characters

Photo of brew3crew
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap the the alpine brewery

A-straw yellow with white whispy head that quickly disapates

S-almost a syrupy vanilla. Thank goodness it tastes better than the smell

T-light body and very smooth. Sooo much vanilla. Little bit of wheat try to balance it out but fails

-medium body and smooth

O- if you like vanilla then this is for you. If not, better luck next time!

 370 characters

Photo of Klym
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewery. Review from notes.

Won't say much on this one as I don't think it was too complex or outstanding. Vanilla, nougat, and wheat in the nose. In the nose it very much had a vanilla-extract like smell to it and was a little off putting in its lack of full, natural vanilla-bean quality. In the taste it had a very lager like wheat character with a surprisingly rich vanilla sweetness, much like french vanilla icecream. Body was light and the carbonation was minimal. Interesting, but more of an underdeveloped ode to vanilla than a beer worth seeking.

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Willy Vanilly from Alpine Beer Company
85 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.
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