Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla
Atlanta Brewing Company

Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla
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Smoke Porter
3.61 | pDev: 24.1%
Atlanta Brewing Company
Georgia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 196 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of a0lbudman
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Black with a small tan head that leaves a slight lace
S-roast with a chocolate nutty aroma coming through with a smoke smell in there
T-The smoke really comes in hard here. Hard smoke taste that has a hop kick then the smoke takes back over
M-kinda full body and low carbonation
O-as the glass goes down the smoke faded, and it had a better taste

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Photo of FrattyNattyKA
4.6/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ahh this will be my first time opening a bottle of Red Brick Mason Series brew, and let me say I am excited to try this smoked beer out! I love my smoked brews and I've got to say that Red Brick Vanilla Gorilla did not disappoint. Upon pouring this treat into my glass my first observation is that the beer has a rich and dark coffee like appearance with a thin tan frothy head. The aroma gave a hint of smoked hickory, malt, and a mild fruity smell. The first sip is very smooth, the brew delights the tongue with a slight fizzle sensation without being overwhelming like cheaper beers (natty), absolutely sensational mouthfeel. The taste is wonderfully balanced, the smokiness is there but done just perfectly I where it doesn't overpower the rest of the flavors, the taste of what I'm assuming to be smoked hickory, vanilla (obviously), malty, with a slight citrusy/fruity tang to top it off. I'm still training my taste buds and senses to be able to pick up on everything but if you're a newbie like me trust me you won't regret picking up this brew. Fantastic I highly recommend. Beer on my friends

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Photo of acevenom
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass mug. The beer pours dark brown to almost black with a thin, light tan head. There are some tiny visible bubbles that can be seen rising in the beer. There is also some lacing left on the side of the glass during consumption. There's some light smoke and vanilla in the aroma. I get some chocolate notes and some good malt in the backbone. The flavors are roasty from the malt with chocolate notes. The vanilla comes through stronger in the taste and the smoke also more present in the flavor. However, the smoke is mellow and not overpowering. What results is a balanced flavor that is far more appealing than the aroma. There's some lingering roastiness in the aftertaste as well. The alcohol also can't be tasted. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is slightly dry and this beer drinks fairly easily for 7.8% ABV. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red Brick's Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is brewed in the style of an American Porter with vanilla beans and smoke added. This one-off variation of their Vanilla Gorilla porter was popular enough to deserve a second-coming and was released again in September 2012. I kept a bottle of the 2011 version to do a little vertical experiment. Typically goes for about $10.99 for a 4-pack.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to my Brick Mason snifter. Served north of 56º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) pours a frothy crisp milk chocolate-tone head. Body color is a deep brown, near black with mellow, subtle carbonation. Retention is lower than average, surface cover is a thin wisp and lacing is light and patchy. A decent porter by color depth but head quality is a shortcoming. 3.5

(Smell) Aromas of thick, bready roasted malts, wet barley and oats, pinches of cocoa nibs, a hint of vanilla and a puff of cold smoke. A bit shallower in the smoke and vanilla department than I expected. The molten chocolate character is very welcome, however. The beer smells moist with flavor and clean- to the point. Despite not being an overly potent beer, the aroma isn't unenjoyable in the least, with a subtle depth and character that is approachable. 4

(Taste) Medium-heavy roasted malt character, some smoked character and a much more noticeable vanilla bean finish. Less chocolate brownie character and a notably drier finish accentuated by a mellow char and smoke note- a bit lighter in body than the nose predicted although there's still a great deal of substance. I do enjoy the smoke and vanilla, but this is a very different beast from how the beer smells. Highly drinkable with a moderate heaviness and an enjoyable flavor. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is smoky, slightly dry, very mildly acidic. The carbonation is a bit on the fuzzy side, a touch too active in the wrong direction for this beer. The body is a bit thin and not as creamy as I would have liked. Alcohol presence is low. Aside from promoting high drinkability, these smokey flavors and subtle vanilla essence would likely thrive in a creamier and fuller bodied brew. 3

(Overall) This is certainly worth a shot by any porter lovers, maybe a little reserved in both the smoke and vanilla flavors and a little lighter in body than expected but considering it being a porter, it has a great balance of drinkability and depth. One of the better Brick Mason additions to the lineup. I hope they bring it back annually from here on out. 3.5

Vertical Review:

September 2011 (1 Year, 9 Months Aged):

Pours a slightly lighter head of a similar crisp, frothy variety over a slightly blacker body with ample carbonation and a frothier head. Aroma has some definite cider-like souring going on, a touch of fruity esters and pretty much no remaining smoke nor vanilla. Smells completely unlike a smoked beer nor a porter. Flavor is strikingly sour, very vinous with bold grape and wild cherry, a pinch of lingering wet oak chips, an awkwardly out-of-place puff of cold smoke and no vanilla to speak of. This beer's career as a smoked vanilla porter is completely toast, no pun intended. Very fuzzy and active carbonation, even more bubbly than the fresher batch, almost a soda-like level of carbonation. Not even remotely the same beer, some may even suggest this is infected. Flipping through the reviews circa 2011-2012 this is a common claim made with this beer. It's enjoyable by it's own merits, but I can't suggest that this is even close to the beer Red Brick expected us to have. Don't age- enjoy fresh.

Recommended Vintage: As fresh as possible, to preserve the smoke & vanilla subtleties (Okay, maybe hold ONE if you're feeling ballsy). At nearly 2 years, it tastes like a dark wild ale, and honestly isn't half bad.

Red Brick Brewing Company's
Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla

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Photo of buschbeer
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - This beer pours damn near black with some mahogany highlights. It is topped with about an inch of mocha head.

S - The aroma gives off milk chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt scents.

T - I taste the milk chocolate right away. I think that is the combination of the chocolate and vanilla. I also taste some roasted malt, and it finishes with black coffee.

M - Full and creamy

O - I enjoyed this beer. I wasn't expecting much with the mediocre rating, but it had a lot of flavor and a nice, creamy mouthfeel. I would definitely drink this again if it was available. I did not get any indication of smoke though.

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Photo of stakem
2.92/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. The brew appears brown in color with some clarity around the edges. A finger of tan head rests atop and produces some spotty lacing as the cap fades. A light swirl revitalizes more than a finger effortlessly back to the surface.

The aroma is smoked like beefy bacon alongside an awkward amount of alcohol tang. There is a fruity aspect present that is not all that inviting along eith an earthen to rocky/mineral feel.

The taste is quite tangy like whiskey mixed with chocolate. Some earthen flavors mingle with the beefy smoked aspect. There is quite an abundance of mineral flavoring into the aftertaste that is not that enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The whiskey reinforced tang is interesting but not that good. If that wasnt bad enough, the mineral aspect was even worse. Not at all what I was expecting for a "vanilla smoked porter."

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Photo of BeerZack
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy vanilla iced coffee nose with hints of wood and smoke. I think the smoke comes across as a chili pepper-like spiciness moreso than a salty or umami impression. Big, rich dark chocolate flavors with a boozey undertone that blends well with the hop bitterness. I think the strength of barrel and booziness in the mid through to the finish overpowers any of the smoked flavors, which isn't a bad thing for me.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't been totally thrilled with the Red Brick beers I have had so far, but this is bucking the trend.

This is a nice porter. Vanilla accents mesh well with the overall robust porter tones. Pretty good bit of hoppy spice tones in there as well.

I dig this beer. It's not the typical porter. It gives a whole lot more to think about and enjoy.

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Photo of tut2528
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to atlcarl for this one!

A: pours a black as night, and even with am aggressive pour, I get almost no head formation.

S: bold smoke, tobacco, coffee, roasted malt, leather. this is just a very extremely bold brew. i'm not picking up any sweetness.

T: quite smokey, but it has an overall decent balance with coffee grounds, tobacco, bold and bitter dark chocolate, slight touch of molasses, nice creamy vanilla finish, alcohol is only slight evident..

M: medium bodied, leaves a nice smokey, dark chocolate taste on the palate, with just a slight creaminess. minimal carbonation.

O: i feel that this would be a nice fireside beer and might be a excellent to pair with some smores (i know that sounds ridiculous, but I think it could actually bring out the flavors of the brew)

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Photo of russwbeck
2.24/5  rDev -38%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: The beer pours out thick and black, but really has nothing else going for it. Only a thin ring of light brown head raises out of the beer, and doesn't lace or hang out at all. The beer bubbles slightly, but isn't anything special. 2

S: The smoked porter is clearly apparent right off the bat. Huge roast, char, and smoke. Next up is the vanilla, which attempts to provide some balance, but actually takes away from it. The smoke and vanilla don't really seem to work with each other...fighting for prominence in my nostrils. I don't note any whiskey. 3

T: The balance on the taste is off as well, which really disappoints me because I was looking forward to tasting this beer. I think the smoke just overtakes the whiskey too much. The taste is dominated by smoke, char, peat, and big hits of vanilla. The finish is actually really nice, with lingering chocolate, slight vanilla, and hints of booze. The aftertaste leaves the remnants of too much vanilla that I noted throughout the aroma and taste. 2

MF: The beer has a medium body, with the lower than average amount of carbonation I expected from the appearance. The finish is slightly unpleasant, with lingering flavors that don't exactly work. The alcohol presence is hidden well, but not even that can help the drinkability. I just find this to be too smokey, vanilla-y, and unbalanced. 2

O: Pretty big disappointment here. Thought it was going to be a knock out as I really appreciated Red Brick's other beers I've had. Can't win them all! 2

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Photo of dcs1548
4.07/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black in color, little to no foam and a smokey vanilla smell. Very present, but not over bearing, smokey taste, with a nice balance of vanilla after taste. It's an excellent beer that's full of complex flavor. I was surprised when I saw the rating on here, oh well, I guess we all have different tastes.

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Photo of Beejay
1.69/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A: Pours dark brown, in the glass it is black but when held to a bright light it turns deep crimson. The head is chocolate milk in color, and fluffy.

S: There is a hint of sour mash in there, as well as a floury bread aroma. Not picking up a lot of dark malt character, although the vanilla is coming through.

T: Tart and sour. No smoked character, some bready flavors, with some vanilla aftertaste. No whisky. Not really any Porter flavor.

M: Fairly thin on body. Carbonation feels a little lack luster. There is a lingering tartness that continues to pucker for a bit.

O: While this certainly isn't the worst beer I have had, it may very well be the worst beer that I would have imagined to be great. I should love everything about a smoked, whisky barrel, vanilla porter. However I am greeted by a thin, lack luster, sour mess of a beer that's only resemblance to a porter is the color; which is a shame because considering some of the other reviews, I think I really would have liked it.

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Photo of AutomaticBastard
1.39/5  rDev -61.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A- Looks like a porter. Dark brown/black, has a small mocha head that goes away rather quickly.

S- Not much smoke, if any. Hint of vanilla, with some spiciness.

T- Sour. Infected

M- Didn't get past the sour aspect of the taste to really analyze it much, but it was medium bodied I'd say.

O- Not much to it, it was sour. Not how I like my porters.

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Photo of maximum12
1/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to, well, you know who you are, for throwing this into an excellent springtime trade. 12 oz. bottle poured after the kids are down & the wife is out. I should really be sleeping.

Pour is dark & fizzy with red highlights, & I like red highlights. Smokiness comes out to play quickly in the nose...& that's about it. Huh.

Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is infected by something mind-blowing. This might be the FIRST BEER EVER that's so terribly I can't take another sip. Not one more. If this were a science experiment, the scientist would be dead or an extra in Deliverance by now.

Putrid. Looking down a few more reviews, it's pretty plain that this one is infected. Strong contender for the worst single thing I've ever put in my mouth...oh, never mind. Complete & utter failure.

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Photo of macrosmatic
2.34/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown to black, and forms a thin tan head. Not much visible carbonation, if any.

S: To me, the aroma is all smoky. Try as I might, I just can't get any vanilla scents. Well, as it starts to warm some, there is just a bit of vanilla here.

T: Taste follows the nose...sweet & smoky. In the flavor also, I can't find any significant vanilla until it warms, but even then it seems more of a background flavor. The smoke flavor just overwhelms any other flavors unlucky enough to be in here.

M: Thick and sticky. The smoky flavor coats the mouth.

O: In the interest of full disclosure - since apparently I don't have the patience to actually read a label in the store, I didn't realize this was a smoked beer until I got it out of the fridge. Certainly not my favorite style, but I've had a few that I actually liked. This one, though, was absolutely *not* for me. Trying to get past the smoke flavor, I thought two things: 1)It doesn't seem real possible; and 2)With Gorilla in the name, I expected to be smacked over the head with Vanilla; and was disappointed in that respect. Drain pour.

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Photo of CruisaC
2.94/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had heard about this one, I'm a sucker for beers with vanilla. Unfortunately I skipped over the "smoked" part since I almost never care r those beers.

Pours a dark brown/black with a fleeting dark khaki head. The best part of the beer.

I get the smoke upfront but there's a strange sour smell that's creeping in on the back end. Hmmm.

Taste is smoke and sour, sour smoke, a little roasted malt. I get no whiskey notes and especially no vanilla. I'm not sure if this is what they're going for. I hate to bring up the "I" word but I can't think this is what they wanted out of this. Should have a little sweetness, no?

Mouthfeel is a little thin. What's the base beer here?

A pretty big miss for me, after some high hopes. Maybe some infection issues, maybe I need to try the non-smoked version.

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Photo of beer2day
3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown pour with forced 1-finger tan head. No retention and not much in the way of lace.

Nose is smoke and vanilla as expected. Roast malt and a hint of coffee. But there is a tinny, metallic note that throws things off.

Vanilla hits up front. Medium roast coffee, smoked peat, and worcestershire. Again, the metallic twang comes in - actually quite strong in the finish. Just puts me off.

Feel is a little on the light side for an 8% abv smoked beer. Wanted a bit more body here, even for a porter.

Overall, interesting attempt but that metallic flavor just does me in.

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Photo of Cold
3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque dark brown, no visible haze, thin brown head dissipates quickly

S: Vanilla, caramel, spicy, dark fruits, smoke, meat, vinuous

T: Sour, smoky, charred, citric, vinegar, salty smoked meats (ham, bacon, jerky), dark wine, vanilla, spicy, dark fruits

M: Starts thick and heavy, finishes thin and solvent-like

A: Salty, cured meat, sour

Overall: This is a strange and complicated beer, with big bold flavors, many of which sharply contrast. It's somewhat off-putting at first, but if you take it at face value, rather than trying to fit it into a typical description, it's an interesting experience for any beer drinker's palate. Many of the flavors happen at once, so it takes several sips to really appreciate the complexity of the beer as a whole, not to mention that it was nothing like I expected (spicy-sweet, almost cloying, heavy beer), so it took a while to get my preconceived notions out of my head and focus on what I was tasting. While Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is a beer every beer lover should try, it's also a beer that I imagine very few would like a lot. Rather, it's more of an exercise for the palate; and while I wouldn't drink more than one in a given evening, I wouldn't hesistate to get another...after some time.

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Photo of angrybabboon
2.34/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 4/28/12

Appearance: Dark brown, light tan head, leaves wispy lacing - unexpectedly dark, could pass for a stout

Smell: So much smoke - kind of like a rauchbier - smoky, burnt organic matter - somewhere between charred meat and charred vegetables - overall, it kind of smells like a poorly maintained, musty barbeque grill - wet wood

Taste: Smoke and weirdness - ridiculously burnt and smoky, tastes... unhealthy - some chocolate and vanilla underneath - lots of damp, wet wood - an odd undercurrent of sourness, some odd fruits - some cardboard - I honestly don't know if this is infected, or just that there is a weird interaction between the extremely smoked malt, vanilla, and other elements

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium body, adequately carbonated, smooth, a little sticky

Overall: Not sure if infected, or just bad

So much smoke, and so much weirdness. Smoked malt doesn't begin to explain this. It's like someone decided to burn some smoked malt. Very strange, yet not awful.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
1.59/5  rDev -56%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Dark brown with deep red hints when held to direct light. Head is small, bubbly, and light tan. Relatively clear.

Smell: Burnt popcorn. Char and cardboard. Vanilla runs sweet and sure. So much smoke. Some lingering sweetness. Charred fire and smoke. Day old cigarette ashes. This wasn't smoked so much as it was set on fire and put out with a wet piece of cardboard covered in vanilla extract.

Taste: Did I mention that it's smoked? So much burnt and roasted malts. It has almost nothong else too it. Almost lactic tart flavor has to derive from the overcooked malts. Aggressively bitter in the sense of pure unsweetened cocoa. It's not sour persay but imparts it. Some lingering notes of vanilla, but it's quickly overshadowed by the char and burnt nature of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin and bubbly. Burnt lingers and dries the whole thing out.

Overall: This is by no means infected. It's so over smoked and bitter it comes across as lactic and sour. Vanilla is almost nonexistent and would really help out if it made an appearance.

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Photo of largadeer
1.77/5  rDev -51%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Extra from jpmclaug. Thanks!

I'm greeted by a blast of vanilla as soon as I uncap the bottle. Pours a muddy auburn color, but rests in the glass an opaque dark brown capped by a thin but lasting head. Smoke is much more dominant on the nose once this is in the glass, but there's an element of sweet vanilla along with an undercurrent of tart dark fruit and roasted malt. The palate is all over the place, with clashing flavors of smoke, acidic dark fruit, lactic sourness, vanilla and charred malt. I can't imagine that this was intentionally soured, and boy does the sourness not work here. The body is pretty thin, and the finish is more sour than roasty. This may have been an interesting beer prior to infection, but it's hard to tell.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Delirium Tremens snifter. Thank goes to jbck109 for this one.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of soft looking dense dark tan head that slowly bubbled away into a fuzzy film. Very fine spots of lacing were left down the glass.
S: They don’t call it Smoked Vanilla Gorilla for nothing. Smoke, campfire, barbeque and char dominate, but I do get some sweeter hints of vanilla pudding beneath.
T: Smoke is prominent but not as much as the nose suggested. I get more roasted characteristic than I do smoke. Toasted malts and grains come through nicely with a little bit of milk chocolate. Vanilla still reminds me of pudding, and is present in the finish. The aftertaste is lightly smoky.
M: Thin and watery mouthfeel. Bubbles are soft but low. This could really use a boost in body.
O: This bottle doesn’t seem to be infected, or if it is it hasn’t developed enough to be detrimental. I thought this was a rather delicious smoked porter. It was a bit thin, but it certainly was easy to drink. Thanks again, Jay!

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Photo of nickfl
2.04/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours with one finger of tan foam on top of a dark brown body with dark amber highlights showing through. The head settles rapidly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Molasses, smoke, and caramel.

T - Sweet, and slightly sour caramel up front with a bit of molasses. Smoke and black cherry notes in the middle with a disconcerting band aid note. Finishes with more sour fruit and unpleasant phenolics.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Wow, this is flat out awful. The smoke and vanilla come together to create a beer that tastes like rootbeer with bandaids floating in it. I couldn't pour this one down the drain fast enough.

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Photo of Kromes
2.36/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Pitch black with a finger's width tan colored head and good lacing down the glass.

S: Sweet roasted and smoked malt with chocolate and a bit of vinegar....which is weird.

T: Up front there is a little bit of roasted malt, but it is taken over by a very, very citric acid bite. No Bueno. I'll keep this review until I can try another....yuck.

M: The beer is rather light and smooth...but then finishes with a citric acid bitterness that kills everything.

O: Not good. I'll try again and update if necessary.

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Photo of tewaris
1.12/5  rDev -69%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

By the label and by its very name, it's clear that this ale might have a lot to offer. Let's find out. Pours a very thin looking dark brown with some bubbles. Smells disgusting: stale coffee and... urine? There definitely are some restroom notes in here. Barrels? Vanilla? Smoke? Negative on all counts. Sour as hell and that's about it... raw mangoes? This is one of the few unintentionally infected beers I have run into. The bugs have taken over everything this might have had to offer. A major fail.

3, 1, 1, 1, 1

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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Atlanta Brewing Company
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 196 ratings