Vanilla Porter
Gonzo's Biggdogg Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Porter - American
ABV:
7%
Score:
89
Avg:
4.03 | pDev: 14.39%
Reviews:
20
Ratings:
107
From:
Gonzo's Biggdogg Brewing
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  4
Gots
  34
SCORE
89
Very Good
Notes:
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 107 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheBierdimpfe
TheBierdimpfe from Canada

3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Medium: Canned, fat tulip glass.
Opacity: Deep opaque.
Color: Very dark brown, almost black.
Head: Slightly creamy brown half a finger.
Legs: Average with poor swirl reaction.
Smell: Vanilla/Coffee.
Taste: Chocolate/Toffee/Cherries/Herbal.
Feel: Roasted/Cake/Spicy/Leafy.
Body: Medium creamy, milky, soft silkiness.
Carbonation: Moderate, proper to the style.
Overall: Desert themed, quite sugary but the end is decently balanced. Pretty good quality porter.

Visual 5.5/10 - Flavors 6.5/10 - Sensations 7/10 - Balance 7/10 -
Freshness 4/10 - Intensity 7/10 - Complexity 6.5/10 - Appreciation 6.5/10

May 08, 2019
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

3.49/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can't recommend this high average rating. It's all a mystery to me in the culmination of Holy Week.
While Vanilla Porter Looks appetizing and it Smells like it is going to deliver vanilla, its Taste is a disappointment. The can suggests it offers "Balanced Botanicals", but I get a chemical-coated tongue. I will say this Gonzo offering is interesting when I can avoid the distraction of the Taste and try to figure out what makes it. But that doesn't last long and I give up on what I will never Like.

I try to figure every new brewer I try. Usually going on their website tell me direct, or at least gives me good good clues. Gonzo's (in the middle of state) is not too forthcoming about its relations with Saugutuck Brewing (a pretty good brewery on the west coast of Michigan.) I have to guess that Gonzo's didn't handle its business well enough to survive, had a few good recipes and a taproom and found Saugutuck as a buyer. That's my guess after searching both sites for 5 minutes. It will not surprise me if Saugutuck puts the effort in to complete the transition and BA follows suit.

Apr 21, 2019
Photo of JimboBrews54
JimboBrews54 from Michigan

5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent porter. Easier to drink than a coffee stout that usually dominates this category. Sweeter flavor profiles that made me want a cup of coffee right after I had this brew.

Jan 28, 2019
Photo of BlackBeerPirate
BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

3.24/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Taste: vanilla extract bite, semi sweet, chocolate malt, warm finish. same with the nose. Black/Brown hue, semi opaque, delicate tan head. Medium to full body.Smooth out as it warms. wish vanilla beans were used more, buy I know that can be more expensive for brewers. 11 IBUs

Sep 06, 2018
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

i had a really hard time with this one, couldnt finish it, it just tastes totally artificial to me, over the top, absurdly sweet, and more of a gimmick than a beverage. very rarely can i not get through a beer, but this one was near impossible. it pours motor oil thick and black from the can into a pint glass, slick looking and dense, no head at all. strong vanilla on the nose, but more like a perfume or a lotion than a real bean, and is so overdone that i already know its going to be chemical and sweet. hardly any roast coming through in the aroma despite the dark color. the flavor is shockingly sweet, like caramel candy or something, not enough of the dark grain coming through to balance, but the overdosed artificial vanilla trumps everything, its insane how much of it there is, and i couldnt imagine what i would feel like if i drank a whole one of these. i was a little turned off by the name of this brewery, seems like a personality type i dont jive naturally with, but i took a chance on this can and regretted it instantly. for a sip or two i can tolerate the sugar level, but its the fake and forced vanilla thing that turns me off so much. its also syrupy and sticky, dead still, and totally palate coating. this is way out of whack, really unappealing. i am shocked folks like this so much, its plastic and absurd. i taste it all night long. maybe just not for me...

Aug 05, 2018
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I am really digging deep into The CANQuest (tm) at this point, unearthing beer-filled aluminum cylinders that acCANponied me home at some point & became neglected in the interim. Yes, it's a tough life.

From the CAN: "A Benchmark of Balance"; "Many years ago, in my garage with a few of my buddies, Vanilla Porter was born."; "Due to its popularity, it had to be brewed all the time. If it ever ran out, the protesting began immediately. Now everyone CAN enjoy this righteous brew born and brewed in Kalamazoo! [undersigned] Gonzo"; "World Domination".

Having Crack!ed the vent open, I began a slow, gentle Glug into the awaiting glass since it came in a Pint CAN. Once decanted, an in-glas swirl raised a brief finger of fizzy, foamy, deep-brown head with modest retention, quickly falling away to wisps. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44), allowing some light to shine through & giving off mahogany highlights in so doing. Nose was a bit over the top. It smelled like an entire bottle of vanilla extract had been liberally applied! I remember goofing around in HomeEc & overusing vanilla in sugar cookies (as well as shaking some onto classmates' clothing & they returned the favor). The whole room was redolent with vanilla & this beer was evocative of that incident. It did not smell bad, per se, but it did seem overwrought. I guess that you had best REALLY like vanilla if you are going to truly enjoy this one. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was, as you CAN imagine, VERY much of vanilla. It is not out of spec for the style, but it seemed like overkill. I was taught to be judicious with vanilla as a little CAN & will go a long way. Gonzo either did not get that memo or simply does not subscribe to that sort of thinking. Finish was downright, almost cloying with its vanilla. CANundrum time: rating to style, this beer will do well, but rating to taste may alert others to its vanilla intensity. I may have to split the difference here. YMMV.

Jun 15, 2018
Photo of singletary
singletary from Mississippi

4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It poured a dark black color with a tan head. The smell is of vanilla mixed with coffee. The taste is a silky smooth coffee and the vanilla is a nice aftertaste. A enjoyable rich drink.

Oct 09, 2017
Photo of HopBomb515
HopBomb515 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black, small tan head, and little to no lacing. Rich aromas of roast and vanilla. Notes of roasted grain, bread crust, coffee, toffee and vanilla bean. Smooth, light on the carbonation, and a touch dry. Sip it or crush it. Highly drinkable but sweet and enjoyable. Nice porter.

Oct 30, 2016
Photo of Big_Neezy
Big_Neezy from Michigan

3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What's with the artificial ingredients and flavors? Why not use real vanilla or real coffee? At over $3.00/can you owe us that much.

It has a great nose on it but not much else going for it. Very little froth when poured from the can and only slightly carbonated which makes it easy to take down. I expected a more bold body. Two dozen other vanilla porters to choose from; I shall select another.

Jun 10, 2016
Photo of fredmugs
fredmugs from Indiana

4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 ounce can poured into a snifter. Beers like this is why I continue to buy random beers while I'm in Michigan. This is one of the best non-barrel aged vanilla beers I've ever had. The vanilla is perfectly integrated into the beer without tasting like an adjunct. Both the aroma and the taste are spot on. My only regret is not buying more.

May 09, 2016
Photo of Dactrius
Dactrius from Wisconsin

3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tons of vanilla flavor and aroma but it definitely seems like an extract. Easy drinking and enjoyable enough though. A bit thin but that's expected for a porter.

Jan 20, 2016
Photo of PHBoiler
PHBoiler from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I appreciate how much vanilla this beer delivers on the nose as well as in the flavor. The vanilla flavor dominates your palate. It borders on tasting like extract. There's some nice roast character to the base porter that I would like to see balance into the vanilla. An enjoyable porter that delivers on the name.

Dec 29, 2015
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout from Georgia

3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can from Justdoit1234 (thanks man). Canned 8/14/15. Served in a goblet.

Pours near black with two and a quarter fingers dark khaki froth. Quickly settles to a thin veneer and a full halo that leav s substantial patches of lace.

Vanilla and caramel are the dominant aromas with some slight toast, cocoa and brown sugar. Quite nice.

The flavors don't quite deliver on the nose. Vanilla extract, flour, roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar and cocoa powder. There are some good flavors in there but it is brought down by something my palate perceives as artificial.

Light but creamy feel with fairly low carbonation. Residual bitterness in the finish with notes of roasted malt, vanilla-"ish" and caramel.

Gonzo's Bigg Dogg Vanilla Porter is headed in the right direction but something seems off. Its an easy drinking porter that has some nice flavor going on as long as you don't analyze it too much.

Nov 03, 2015
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter from Michigan

3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a can of Gonzo's Biggdogg Brewing's Vanilla Porter last week for $3.09 at The Lager Mill. I've had this beer on tap before and I thought it was pretty solid and I'm interested to see how it holds up to be canned, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter.

A- The can looks good, it's got a nice desgin to it and it's just a little eye catching. It poured a nice black color that didn't let any light come through and it had about a finger and a half worth of light tan head that died down to a thing ring that eventually faded away and it left behind a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but it would be great if it had a little better head retention.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the vanilla being the first to show up and it imparts a nice candied and natural vanilla bean like aroma that seems to be the aroma that sticks out the most in this beer and it leads into some nice chocolate aromas with cocoa seeming to stick out the most. towards the end there's a little bit of a roasted malt aroma with more sweetness and vanilla. This beer has a pretty nice aroma, but it's a little on the sweet side.

T- The seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with vanilla still being the first to show up and it slightly not strong as it was in the aroma, but it's still the aspect that sticks out the most in this beer. Up next comes the chocolate which imparts those cocoa aspects that I got in the aroma and it leads into malts which impart the same light roasted malt aspect. On the finish there's not bitterness with some more sweetness replacing it and leads into the aftertaste along with vanilla and light cocoa flavors. This beer has a pretty nice flavor, I just wish it had a little more and I wish the sweetness was toned down a little.

M- Fairly smooth,slightly cloying, a little crisp, a little sticky, on the slightly thicker side of being medium bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is nice, but I wish it was less sticky.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and a nice example the style, it really lives up to it's name with enough vanilla that you would have to have no taste buds not to notice it and it worked well with the other flavors, but I think if it had a little more roasted malt flavors to back up the cocoa it would be very nice beer. This beer had ok drinkability, one pint is enough for me, anymore than that and the sweetness might start to wear on me. What I like the most about this beer is the combination of vanilla and cocoa flavors, they worked nicely together. What I like the least about this beer was the sweetness, it needs to be toned just a little. I would buy this beer again, but it's nothing I would stock up on. I recommend giving it a try, it's a beer that for sure lives up to it's name. All in all liked this beer, it's nothing I could drink all the time or a lot of, but when I'm in the mood for a sweeter dark beer I could see this one being pretty enjoyable, it's pretty close to being a dessert beer. It's the only beer I've tried from this brewery so it's my favorite and it's a nice example of the style. Nice job guys, this is just as tasty as I remember, keep up the hard work and would be nice to see more of your beers in pint cans.

Oct 02, 2015
Photo of superspak
superspak from Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass; no canning date, but was just recently released into cans. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big vanilla, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, light coffee, and light herbal hops. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, vanilla, and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big vanilla, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, light coffee, and light herbal hops. Light herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and light coffee on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast malt, vanilla, and light earthy hop flavors; with no cloying sweetness after the finish despite the very light amount of bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately silky/creaky, and slightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice vanilla porter. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla, and light earthy hop flavors, and very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Sep 26, 2015
Photo of FlandersNed
FlandersNed from Indiana

3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can. Opaque dark brown tone with a moderate brown head. Vanilla extract nose. Big vanilla bean, toasty dark malt and coffee flavor. Full- body & medium carbonation.

Sep 18, 2015
Photo of justinp444
justinp444 from Michigan

3.34/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter it has a black body with a 3 and a half inch thick head. Smell of light roasted malt, chocolate, a ton of vanilla, and some caramel. Taste is watery, with chocolate and vanilla, maybe some light roasted malt flavor. It has a moderate crisp mouth feel with a light and watery body. A bit too much like heavily carbonated vanilla flavor in water for me.

Sep 09, 2015
Photo of Pukstopper
Pukstopper from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a pint glass a dark black color. Head fades quick but leaves lacing. Nice vanilla notes with chocolate tones that complement well. A nice drinkable porter

Apr 06, 2015
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

The beer pours a creamy tan but is also a a bubbly head. The beer itself is an opaque dark black with dark brown notes as well. The smell has very strong vanilla sweetness notes, but is slightly balanced by some sweet dark chocolate notes. The smell is heavily vanilla leaning. The taste is the same as the smell but with stronger cocoa notes and dark chocolate sweetness that balances out the vanilla notes. The beer develops a more robust roast flavor as it warms up. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy but is still pretty smooth bordering on silky despite the biting carbonation. Overall, a very good vanilla porter despite being very heavy on the vanilla. Highly recommend.

Aug 30, 2014
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero from Texas

3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Apologies for the typo in the title.

This poured a cola color with a thin layer of foam. There’s a pronounced vanilla note on the aroma. The flavor has a heavy dose of vanilla and skews on the sweetish side of things for a porter. Thinly bodied with little roast to contrast the sugar-cookie vanilla sweetness.

Feb 05, 2014
Vanilla Porter from Gonzo's Biggdogg Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 107 ratings