Willy Vanilly | Alpine Beer Company

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BA SCORE
84
good
41 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good
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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:
41
Ratings:
210
Avg:
3.74
pDev:
24.33%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
18
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 210
Photo of puboflyons
3.07/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on August 23, 2016.

The pour is a slightly hazy yellow with almost no head.

The aroma brings out a vibrant vanilla ester as expected considering what this is. I also get a little citrus and lemon spritzer character along with a muted toasted malt note.

Light body.

But the vanilla is far to prominent in the taste and it overtakes everything else that this beer has to offer. It finishes clean though.

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Photo of Todd
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Vanilla, Marshmallow, Bready, Vanilla

Golden straw in color with a slight haze and a fluffy white head. Deep notes of vanilla permeate the aroma. Creamy, surprisingly medium-bodied with a bit of chew. Crisp underneath with soft vanilla notes and a sugary marshmallow suggestion merge with some bready sweetness and wheat character. A mild bitterness provides balance while subtle citrus undertones bring things together. Residual vanilla in the end is accompanied by an oily feel. Willy Vanilly works, but drink it cold since the vanilla takes over as the beer warms and becomes a bit artificial.

As reviewed in BeerAdvocate magazine #115 (August 2016).

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Photo of Squire123
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is light hazy yellow with dense white cap and decent lacing, both of which soon dissipate.

Aroma is like a vanilla cookie, the inexpensive ones the college kids get from the dollar store. A pleasant scent but not especially beery. Underneath the vanilla I detect a bit of spice but not the normal hop spiciness, rather something bakery like. Maybe that's the idea.

Taste just like it smells, which is to say pleasantly vanilla waferish. It really drinks like a liquid cookie. There is malt present but I think my bakery analogy covers it. Yet the vanilla doesn't overpower, there's no cloying sweetness, and the total flavor is well balanced. Vanilla remains all through and into the aftertaste, which is brief.

Texture is medium. Appearances notwithstanding this actually has a bit of heft to it.

Overall this is a plus. It's not a simple vanilla flavored malt beverage, rather a well crafted wheat brew with vanilla. More nuanced than one suspects at first whif. According to the brewer this is their basic Willy brand wheat ale, itself a light bodied version of the genre, with vanilla added. A bit more alcohol (Willy is 4.9, this is 5.5) but I don't think they changed the hop level (4 IBU, yes, I said four) because the only thing I could find resembling hops was a hint of spice in the aroma. A plain vanilla contender tossed in the arena with a bunch of fruity wheat competitors this one holds it's own and doesn't get trampled.

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Photo of superspak
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 12/24/2016. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy golden yellow color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy white head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Good appearance. Aromas of vanilla, wheat, cracker, and biscuit; with lighter notes of lemon, apple, banana, clove, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of vanilla, bready malt, and light fruity/spicy yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of big vanilla, wheat, cracker, and biscuit; with lighter notes of lemon, apple, banana, clove, and yeast earthiness. Light bitterness/yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of vanilla, wheat, cracker, biscuit, light banana/clove, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of vanilla, bready malt, and light fruity/spicy yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium body; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/grainy mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.5%. Overall this is a very good pale wheat ale. All around good robustness and balance of vanilla, bready malt, and light fruity/spicy yeast flavors; very smooth and refreshing to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale gold brew with a white head that fades quickly while leaving no trace. The aroma is wheat toast, sweet malt and vanilla. The taste is spicy wheat beer and sweet vanilla with a slight tanginess. The beer is light but has almost no carbonation which takes a lot away from the beer. The taste is ok but the rest of the beer seems to miss the mark of a wheat ale.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a bright golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of white head that fades fairly quick.

Smell: A bready and fairly sweet wheat driven aroma with a scent of vanilla, wheat, and spice. Good upfront scent of vanilla. Belgian yeast with a scent of pepper, coriander, and clove. Malt scent of wheat, grains, biscuit, and cracker. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a bready and sweet wheat driven taste with notes of vanilla, wheat, and spice. Upfront presence of vanilla. Belgian yeast with notes of pepper, clove, and coriander. Bready malt notes of wheat, cracker, grains, and biscuit. A pretty nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid twist on a Wheat ale. Nice mix of vanilla and wheat notes.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
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 -5.3%
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%
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 -5.9%
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 +0.3%
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 -2.4%
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 +4.3%
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.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +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 +5.1%
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.

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Photo of teromous
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
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 +6.7%
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 -1.9%
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%
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 -0.3%
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 +6.7%
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.

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Photo of nathanmiller
4.79/5  rDev +28.1%
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.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
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!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
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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Willy Vanilly from Alpine Beer Company
84 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.
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