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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
81
good
81 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Red Brick Brewing Company
Georgia, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AdamBear on 09-21-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
81
Ratings:
196
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
37.92%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
22
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 196
Photo of dcs1548
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

 303 characters

Photo of Beejay
1.69/5  rDev -52.5%
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.

 997 characters

Photo of AutomaticBastard
1.39/5  rDev -61%
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.

 350 characters

Photo of maximum12
1/5  rDev -71.9%
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.

 785 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
2.34/5  rDev -34.3%
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.

 1,171 characters

Photo of CruisaC
2.94/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

 801 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

 579 characters

Photo of Cold
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

 1,244 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
2.34/5  rDev -34.3%
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.

 1,035 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
1.59/5  rDev -55.3%
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.

 1,050 characters

Photo of largadeer
1.77/5  rDev -50.3%
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.

 741 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

 1,049 characters

Photo of nickfl
2.04/5  rDev -42.7%
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.

 657 characters

Photo of Kromes
2.36/5  rDev -33.7%
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.

 513 characters

Photo of tewaris
1.12/5  rDev -68.5%
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

 518 characters

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chocolate brown with a surprisingly big, beige head. Eventually settles at around three fingers, and though it fades once I begin drinking, there is lacing aplenty.

S: Hmm, sort of smells like a wild ale. Brett, sour cherries, and some meaty smoke.

T: Starts off with those sour cherries. Towards the middle I get bacon and smoked ham. Brett and cherries come back towards the end, but the after taste is decidedly roasty and smoky.

M: Carbonation is a bit too present in the first second or two of the sip, but then moves to the background, keeping the body light but still allowing the flavors through.

O: I looked at a few other reviews and it seems that some think this is the way the beer was intended to taste, but I find that hard to believe. That being said, the smokey combined with the sour works surprisingly well. I would like to try a non-infected bottle some day.

 891 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
2.57/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: deep, dark ruby color, clear, with nice tan head that was full but dissipated to a veil
S: more chocolate and roasted malt than smoke, medium nose
T: there's something wrong with this beer that is not evident in the nose, sour taste like it's gone off, not incredibly sour but enough to realize it's there and it detracts from what should be a chewy porter
M: I can't get past the sour taste, thin for its ABV and style

 422 characters

Photo of beergod1
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a tan head. Nose is a smokey wood, spice, vanilla and dark roast coffee. As it warms the whiskey starts to show. Taste is a bit confusing. Initially the smokey oak with some vanilla sweetness and some dark roasted malts. I don’t really get too much whiskey but more caramel, chocolate and some coffee. And really not much vanilla. It definitely gets better as it really warms. This, like the Old Stock ale, has a dense foam all the way through to the end, which seems to make it creamy.This brewery is pretty good, this is the second I have tried, gonna have to trade for some more.

 622 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 02/23/12 notes. Received this in the Birthday BIF from jyounger30; thanks Jay! This sounds really cool. I've only had one beer from Red Brick and I liked it quite a bit, so excited to try this one. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Brawley's snifter.

a - Pours a dark black color with an inch of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head only lasts for a few seconds and leaves some very light lacing on the glass. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits and smokey malts up front. Surprising how much dark fruit is in the nose. As it warms up I'm getting some roasted malts, chocolate, and light oak/wood. Not really getting any vanilla or bourbon at all which is a bit disappointing.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, smoked malts, roasted malts, lightly sour dark fruits/cherries, oak/wood, and some toasted malts. As it warms up the tiniest bit of cream/vanilla, but almost none. Again, no whiskey.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty
easy to drink.

o - Overall an interesting and above average smoked porter. The nose and taste are both dominated by dark fruits and smokey malts, and neither has any bourbon. The nose really had no vanilla and the taste had a tiny bit. Was also surprised by the lightly sour cherries and dark fruits in the taste. Looking at other reviews it sounds like other people noticed this too, so don't think it's an off bottle. Still an enjoyable beer but a little disappointing after reading the label. Worth checking out if you can pick it up cheaply.

 1,531 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to morimoto76 for sharing this bottle during a recent tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a deep red brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, smoke, roasted malt, dark fruit, wood, vanilla, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, smoke, wood, dark fruit, vanilla, and subtle alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Just about everything on this one was pretty nice, but I just wish there was a little more complexity and intensity on the aspects present. Been wanting to try this one for awhile and glad I finally got the chance.

 778 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up while on vacation in Palm Beach, Florida. The title on this beer sounded really cool, and I like to try new, regional beers.

I poured this into a snifter. The beer looks like a "gorilla" color. It is black with only the slightest amount of light coming through. The foam disappears almost immediately.

You get a ton of smoke from the nose. It is very different from the stock, smoke smell. I don't smell any bacon presence. I also got some of the whiskey. I feel like there might be the slightest hint of coffee, but I may be imagining it.

In my first drink I get a lot of smoke, sour, and coffee past it's prime. The smoke flavor has a little bit of bacon to it. I don't get much of the whiskey in the flavor. There was no vanilla presence. It really isn't balanced. I wish I liked it more. I think I like the description more than the flavor.

The mouthfeel is fine. The flavor comes off pretty evenly. I actually pick up more from the after-taste than from the beer itself.

This was an interesting experience. I won't pick up another bottle, but I appreciate having had this bottle.

 1,107 characters

Photo of biggmike
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown with a nice off-white head that dissipated quickly and left small ring around glass. Aroma was of chocolate, maple, bourbon and vanilla. Taste was very much like the aroma of this beer. Mouthfeel was maybe a bit thin, but this is still an enjoyable beer that I would have again. Good stuff.

 315 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.76/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours darkest brown. Light brown finger of head. Light oak and Bourbon, slight chocolate and a massive vanilla note. Meaty smokiness shows when warmer. Vanilla bursts out on the taste, definitely like vanilla beans. Some chocolate and subtle oak and Bourbon notes. Smoke is present and adds a nice element. Medium bodied, clean finish. Good brew. My favorite Brick Mason brew thus far.

 385 characters

Photo of nhindian
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a cola-colored brown that pours easily into the snifter. There's not much head on here, about a finger's worth, but it does have some decent retention despite the lack in height. Sticky lacing surrounds the glass, layering the glass in its wispy wake.

S - The nose on this is intriguing and unique from the start. My very first impression draws me back to about a year ago when I first tried Short's S'more Stout (which was unfortunately badly infected) in the smokey campfire smell mixed with a strong sweetness. There it was due to the marshmallow and chocolate, but here, the vanilla beans add a pleasant sweetness. It probably helps that they smoke the vanilla beans as well to keep it from being overbearing. A touch of smoked meats flutters here and there.

T - My first takes me by surprise as there is a slight tartness here which I'm not sure is attributable to an infection or just the way the overall profile comes together. Either way, it's not disastrous as the S'more Stout was; it just adds another layer. The smoke is kicked up a notch here, overshadowing the vanilla just a touch, while the beans resurge in the finish to end on a sweeter note. A little bit of chocolate and coffee comes and goes, just staying long enough to make a slight impression. There is only a little bit of whiskey influence here, as I can just barely get some of the flavor mingling in the middle of the pack, but it's definitely not in the top 3 flavors at all.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with high carbonation. A little bit thin, especially for the range of flavors that this beer goes through, but it does keep it rather easy to get down. A smokey, woody finish leaves a lasting aftertaste.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. While the whiskey isn't as prominent as I was hoping it'd be, the other flavors seem to more than compensate for it with an interesting flavor profile. This pairs perfectly with a freezing, snowy night.

 1,992 characters

Photo of match1112
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: a half inch of bubbly tan head settles on top of a black body. a thin ring and some lacing are left behind.

s: smoked pork mainly. not getting much vanilla, but a little bourbon is in the background(very faint). also notice a slight sour smell.

t: this is a very smoky beer. also that off sour note is in the taste, dont know why or what it is. very little of the bourbon shines thru the smoke.

m: seems thin for a bourbon barrel porter, especially with all the smoke, should be chewy. i think it has a little too much carbonation and too much smoke.

o: disappointed in this one. either make a rauchbier or a barrel aged porter, but not both mixed together. too much going on in there, and that off sour note is making me think about drain pouring it.

 759 characters

Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Red Brick Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe