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

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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla
Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla

Brewed by:
Atlanta Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: Smoke Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 196
Photo of kmatlack
4.12/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Second offering from Red Brick, i quite liked the first one, so hopefully this one is as impressive. No bottled/best by date on the bottle. Poured into a brooklyn tulip.

A- Pours a very dark brown, only light getting through is at the edge of the glass. Semi-aggressive pour yields a finger width off-white head. Seemed a little coarse at first, but has settled down to a thin, creamy head that covers the surface of the beer. Lacing down the side of the glass.

S- First thing that hits the nose is sweet, roasty chocolate. Quickly following is the smoke. Some milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, more smoke.

T- Alot going on here so ill just describe it as it comes. Sweet vanilla on the tongue, smoked malts, chocolate, bourbon, roasty malt flavors, coffee, some caramel, and the finish is very reminiscent of chipotle peppers. Almost even seems to have a little spice to it? Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. Very, very good.

M- Decent carbonation, thin, slick mouthfeel. Wish it was a little more dry but, whatever.

O- Another very good beer from Red Brick. Drink this one slightly cooler than room temperature to fully appreciate this beer. Also really liked the fact that this wasnt overly smoked. There is nothing worse that getting a smoked beer that is like eating a fucking campfire. Great balance.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.82/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

big thanks to my man tom for letting me try a bottle of this!

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. no freshness info.

pours out pretty much opaque black, reveals a bit of ruby, brown on the edges in the light. small light tan head that faded pretty quickly to a ring and some light patchy foam, then eventually nothing. no lace.

the aroma doesnt have much to offer at first. as it warms i get lots of vanilla. some roasty milk chocolate, and a hint of some woody, smokey qualities.

lots of roast and vanilla at the forefront. also, lots of milk chocolate and maybe some coffee makes itself known. a bit of smokiness is noticeable, more as it warms, but almost nothing from the whiskey barrel aging. different than most stronger porters, off the first sip i almost got a strange kind of barrel funkiness.

for me, the moughtfeel felt a bit too thin for the style, and just a touch too much of a bitey carbonation.

not really sure what to make of this beer, at times the flavor was great, at times, it tasted off. nice vanilla bean taste, not too sure on the whiskey barrel though. a worthy beer non the less.

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Photo of sommersb
4.02/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 11-19-2011
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: 4-pack from Midtown, Nashville

Color is black and opaque. The tan head is less than a finger and dissipates quickly. Lacing on the glass is good.

Aromas feature the smoked malt and cherry wood. I also get some roasted notes and a subtle whiskey aroma, but not any vanilla.

Taste is smokey and malt-forward, with highlights from the oak wooded flavors. I also get bittersweet chocolates and a low amount of bitterness of coffee. Maybe a nod to some vanilla, but it seems those flavors get overshadowed by the smoke and woodiness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy on a medium body. Nice alcohol warming and an aftertaste of smoked and roasted malt.

Overall, a nicely balanced porter, easier to drink than some other smoked beers. I'd recommend this beer, although I think the price is a bit high.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is SERIOUSLY smoky, like burnt green wood, with a hint of, yep, you guessed it, vanilla, and a touch of coffee. It pours a warm opaque sable with a thick, fluffy, persistent light tan head. Smoky flavor has vanilla, coffee and molasses notes to it. Firm-bodied texture is fairly fizzy and leaves a woody, smoky finish that has hints of coffee and yeast.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for this one Grant. Poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark cola brown with a finger of light tan head.

The aroma gives off some burnt coffee notes with some hints of vanilla and smoke and cedar. Somehow this is smokier than I had pictured; very tasty though. Lots of smoke and cedar on the pallet with some cocoa tones and a bit of vanilla to round it out.

A little bit lighter on the body than I would prefer with somewhat rough carbonation.

Overall this is a pretty unique one. Pretty enjoyable brew from these guys.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a medium-sized, light beige head.

Smell: A sooty smokiness certainly leads the pack, followed by sweet-scented chocolate, sugar-dosed coffee, and some dark fruits, the vanilla bean pods, as well as the barrel treatment coming in dead last (but, better last than never, right?).

Taste: Sweetish malts, some semi-sweet chocolate, roast-accented coffee, and the expected vanilla, but, unless the previous iteration, with a noted chimney smokiness. Light bourbon character, no more, with caramelized sugar creme brulee tops. Sweetish, smoky finish with that barrel character trying to emerge, even at the last second, but not quite getting there.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Develops a smoothness as the carbonation dies away.

Overall: Sweetish, mellow, and smelling, at times, of smoke. A bit like myself, really.

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Photo of sk8man121
4.24/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to gford217 for this generous extra!

12 oz bottle poured into Delerium Tremens tulip.

A: Pours a completely opaque dark, dark brown with cherry-cola highlights. 1-finger mocha head dies into a thin cap, leaving a bit of lacing.

S: Vanilla and sweet cocoa dominate the nose, followed by a bit of wood and fresh cream. Also some caramel and molasses Very inviting.

T: Nose characteristics start this off, followed by a great deal of oak and a bit of coffee. Not getting much bourbon, but the oak is omnipresent. Delicious.

M: Carbonation is rather high for the style, although the feel itself is thinner than I'd like to see in a beer like this.

O: Certainly a delicious take on a vanilla porter, although I'd say the flavor profile leans more towards a stout. I also would have liked to see more bourbon, even though the oak is there in droves. Regardless, I would love to have regular access to this beer.

Very nice, and worth more than one take.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 2 inch foamy beige head that settles to a thin film. Thin broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt first and foremost. Maybe some slight vanilla and bourbon aromas if you smell very hard. Taste is of smoked malt, chili chocolate, and slight vanilla and bourbon flavors. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good smoked porter but the vanilla and bourbon that is supposed to be in this beer is very hidden in both the smell and taste.

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Photo of Heatwave33
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: A coca-cola color with a tan head.

Smell: Smokey, Vanilla, hops and whiskey

Taste: Hops, smokey, vanilla and slight whiskey and chocolate on the back.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, smooth and mid-light dry on the palate.

Overall: The hops, vanilla, smoke, whiskey and chocolate are well balanced. My brother really enjoyed this one. Cheers!

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Pours dark coffee color with a nice tan head that that sticks around for awhile and there was some nice lacing in this one.

S= You really get a lot of vanilla in the nose it's really strong the smoke does a nice job of hiding the fact it was aged in whiskey barrels. I picked up on the whiskey just a little bit I also picked up on some chocolate.

T= I think the smoke comes through really strong in the taste, then the vanilla which surprised me because the vanilla was really strong in the nose. I also picked up on the chocolate and whiskey in the back of this beer.

M= Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation. I really thought this would be a little bit more full bodied.

O= Overall, I thought this was a wonderful beer and really would like to try this one again. I would say give this one a try.

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Photo of hmf05
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown/red and leaves a nice three finger tan head. Smells like a rauchbier. I get smoked meat and whiskey, but no vanilla. Tastes exactly like the smell. Smoked ham comes through and stays throughout. I can taste whiskey at the end, but vanilla is not how I would describe this beer. Very delicious. Very smokey and the whiskey barrels give this a nice smoothness that other smoked beers lack. Very impressed! More characteristic of a rauchbier than a porter. If you love smoked beers, this is a must-try!

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Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a nice deep chocolate brown with a small tan head that recedes slowly to a thick collar.

Aroma is interesting and heavy on smoked malts with some hints of vanilla. There are some roasty malts and a little bakers chocolate underneath.

The taste is excellent and has a few interesting things going on. The smoked malts are still there but the vanilla is a little more prominent as is the chocolate and malts in the backbone.

Smooth feel with good carbonation.

I'm a big, big fan of this beer and I'm pretty excited about what ABC has been putting out lately. Get some now.

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Photo of xpdrinker
3.99/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at Total Wine & More in Boca Raton FL early October 2011. Poured into Libbey stemmed porter/stout glass.

A: Pours coffee black with thin tan head that dissipates into a thin film leaving a tan ring around the top. 

S: Vanilla detected immediately after the pour when the glass is at least a foot away, but smoke is the most prevalent aroma when the glass is under my nose. Minor whiskey notes intertwined with toffee, roasted coffee and faint hint of chocolate cherries.

T: Smoke still takes center stage, while vanilla, coffee, and chocolate play in the background. Many different flavors but nicely balanced.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation that's almost a little too fizzy for my preference. Would like to see how this one settles after a few months. Slight bitterness that doesn't linger.

O: Lots of different flavors and aromas give it a very interesting complexity that's remarkably well-balanced, with the smokiness and vanilla playing off each other nicely.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

882nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2011 Release
Served at cellar temp.

Thanks to ahlthe3rd for this one.

App- A good rich mahogany brown with some amber highlights. Borders a deep brown but needs more richess to it. A good two finger head with maybe a couple dots of cling.

Smell- A good bit of smoke flavor with some oak barrel and a tad bit of vanilla. If you say Vanilla, it should have more of it in the nose. A good bit of booze as well.

Taste- A small thiness with the porter malt flavor. The roast comes next with only a touch of vanilla and then a little bit of espresso and the spicy smoked flavors.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A good bit of roast and smoke. A little lit down with the lack of vanilla on aftertaste.

Drink- This was a good tasty beer but needed to pop more with the vanilla. The smokiness and roast is there with some oak flavors just needs to balance a bit more.

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Photo of suspect
4.35/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to my buddy Audi for the hookup from the ATL.

A: Pours a dark dark brown color with a 1.5 finger creamy tan head that disappears to a thin ring after a couple of minutes. Spotty lacing.

S: Roasted malts and alcohol hit my nose first followed by the oak smell and some smokey smell and coffee as well. Not a huge smoke flavor but enough to make me want to be sitting next to a campfire.

T: As it warms, the malts take a back seat to the oak and the vanilla. Roasted chocolate malts come through in the middle of the taste as does some more coffee and cocoa. As it warms more, the coffee really comes through at the end.

M: Creamy, wonderful feel that coats the mouth. The alcohol peeks itself out here moreso than at any other point in the brew but it's really welcomed. Perfectly carbonated.

O: A superb brew from Red Brick which at this point isn't anything new. These guys are really good and this beer does not disappoint.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.4/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice to see another great beer from Red Brick- I'm really enjoying the Brick Mason series. This one pours black with a thin beige head that leaves some lacing. Lightly smoky in the nose, with some underlying roastiness and a fair bit of noticeable sweetness. The taste is similar, but a beautifully integrated whole. Very nice, but gentle notes of wood smoke, subtle bourbon notes, restrained vanilla, some light roastiness and a somewhat sweet and quite creamy finish. Quite nice. The mouthfeel is downright silky- ultra-smooth with notes of smoke drifting in and out of the creaminess. Really good, and hopefully this and the double IPA are harbingers of things to come.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with some brown highlights. A very slight head accompanies the thin pour. Smells first of smoke then the vanilla hits hard with some burnt malts thrown in the mix. First sip is a very nice balance between the smoke, vanilla, and overly roasted malts. The finish is mostly vanilla and smoke. Not a whole lot of oak or whiskey in the flavor. It is there but mostly hidden by the vanilla. Very thin bodied but well carbonated. Pretty tasty but could be a ton better.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to mrandypandy for this beer in a recent trade!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with 1 finger of white head that falls quickly to a ring around the top of the beer.

Smell: Very oaky and heavy smoke too. Charcoal briquets. Roasty malts and vanilla sweatness. Earthy notes & peat.

Taste: expecting really sweet, but this beer is seriously smokey. A dry and meaty almost bacon like smokiness. Subtle sweetness from notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey. This beer also has a nice oak presence. The barrel notes are really well integrated. Mild booze kick in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied porter with low end of medium level carbonation. The carbonation is prickly and crisp for a barrel aged beer. Smoke makes this beer finish really dry.

Overall: This is a nice beer, but it was just a little over the top with the smokey notes. I feel like I am sitting next to a bonfire with every sip of this beer. It like a Porter combined with a Rauch beer then barrel aged.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle 

A- Poured into a sniffer. Pours a dark brown color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is smoked malts and whiskey. I can't pick up on much of the vanilla in the nose.

T- The taste is malty up front with some smokey flavors and some of the whiskey flavors from the barrel aging come through as well.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

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Photo of BeerandLoathing
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Good appearance. Dark brown color with a great beige/cream colored lace.

S: Very pleasant smokey smell. Barbecue, coffee, and subtle chocolate round out the notes.

T: Rich chocolate flavor, with an incredible smoked malt finish that gets better as it warms up.

M: Pillowy and smooth. You get a lingering coffee flavor that's really flavorful as well.

O: Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I think that a Pappy Van Winkle barrel aged version of this must have been 1,000times better though.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

March 25, 2012 update. Opened a bottle from the cellar and it appears an infection is setting in. Big rocky foamy head that doesn’t go away, stark contrast from fresh bottles. Biggest difference is a funky sour/tart character coming to light in the nose and particularly flavor. Not totally gone at this point...still gonna drink it but not nearly as good as when it was fresh. A shame...

Score is from the fresh, and excellent, bottles I enjoyed last fall...

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12oz bottle, served around 50F.

Pours dark brown with a one finger tan head that leaves some sheets and spots of lacing and holds a light creamy cap and ring.

Aroma starts with the smoke, primarily of the smoked meats variety, beneath the smoke is a nice healthy dose of vanilla, really nice, light whiskey notes along with your typical roasted malt, chocolate and coffee of a good porter. Very good strength and quite complex.

Flavor basically follows suit, smoked ham and bacon, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, touch of whiskey, fairly sweet, hint of alcohol on the finish. Kind of like a meal and dessert wrapped into one. You get the savory smoked meats along with the sweet, almost sundae like qualities of the vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Unique and very tasty!

Mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied, somewhat creamy, good carbonation.

Okay so this is really good. Excellent smoky notes along with a lot of vanilla...definitely lives up to its name. The whiskey barrel aspect does take a backseat, but there is enough going on here where that isn’t a big issue with me.

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Photo of azorie
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: Pitch clear black beer in color, some spare head that quickly dies. Some tan lacing in a mug.

s: bourbon, vanilla, smoke. any hops or yeast was crushed in the barrel. lol. also no malt as is all overpowered in a bad/good way.

t: at first the smoke overpowers the bourbon/vanilla combo, then on the back of the mouth that flavor comes through. Sort of boozy. lightly sweet, no hops, yeast or malt as above. with the right food this beer could work.

m: oily, full body beer, rich thick and semi chocolate.

o: humm not a big fan of oak aged beers, or smokey beers. This is both. I bought the 4 pack and this is my 2nd go around with it. Its not as bad as the first one was. now with this beer the smoke overpowers it, but not in a bad way. I just find I like less smoke, and I bet the regular porter done this way would be OUTSTANDING! However if you are a smokey beer lover then you think this is a great beer and too you it will be, to me its so so. its worth a try but if you hate smoke beers stay away. I will never buy a 4 pack again.

drink: after taste when it warms up is like drinking an ashtray. YUCK!

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Photo of hopking311
4.62/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours dark pitch black, thin off white head dissapates quickly to a nice mm ring around inside of tulip snifter.

smells smokey, caramel, toffee, fresh cut vanilla beans

thick full body, well carbonated.

Immediately getting smokey bourbon, milk chocolatey malts with slight hoppy backbone

Best beer Ive had from Red Brick. Definately best smoked beer Ive ever encountered thus far.

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Photo of ryanonline
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark black with some deep ruby highlights. a very thin tan head that is very bubbly but disappears quickly leaving sheet like lacing.

smells very rich with some strong roasty coffee notes and a deep smokey nose. it also smells a bit salty, perhaps even a very light vanilla bean scent.

the taste is amazing, very roasty but the smokey salty flavor has become very much more prevalent and amazingly delicious. the vanilla is also much more up front. even has an almost scotch like flavor. very complex.

the mouthfeel is a bit thin though slightly syrupy but has a significant amount of very prickly carbonation. dry finish.

this beer has some really complex flavors and characters but still remains fairly easy on the palette and not very filling, also at just under 8 percent, this beer is fairly sessionable.

overall this is an amazing beer, I've only had a few smoke beers, but this beer is quite something else. as a porter it even is fairly good. thumbs up, now I gotta try some more beers from red brick.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.... this is by far their best beer they make and possibly one of my favorite smoke beers. This is a big smoke beer. Bourbon and vanilla are there as well as typical chocolate/coffee flavors of typical porters, but the smoke aspect of this beer is the real star. You have to be of fan of the smoke to enjoy this as well as the big woody flavors coming from the barrell aging. More body and head retention would/make this world/class.

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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Atlanta Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 196 ratings