Atwater Block Brewery
Vanilla Java Porter
This is a not-quite-opaque beer, some deep chocolate color flashes at the sides of the glass when held to the light. A light tan head settles quickly to a frothy blanket across the top, and effervescence seems fine from what can be seen looking down into dark brew.
The nose certainly gives off a strong vanilla aroma, a bit like cookie dough, with a slight astringent, burnt coffee smack at the back. Also present is some almond and what seems to be a very sweet maltiness.
The mouthfeel is interesting, starting off a bit thin, with very little carbonation, then puffing up a bit before relaxing into some more severe flavors.
Initially, coffee flavor fills the mouth like steam, giving the idea of coffee without assaulting the taste buds. What follows is a slight hint of vanilla, which is rapidly dispersed by some deep cherry notes – almost like Maraschino. The end of the swallow yields some alcohol warmth, but it is a bit overly-sweet like rich plum jam, or pureed prune. I’ve never had pureed prune, but I can imagine.
It’s not a fantastic example of a porter; there is very little roasted malt character here. The vanilla and coffee idea is a decent one for a breakfast beer, let’s say, but it needs to be toned down a bit. Both flavors flex their muscles a bit too much. A brew like this should be velvety smooth.
It’s more daring than most, so kudos for that, but it’s a bit syrupy for my liking. It seems that ABB brews with real beans (coffee and vanilla), so maybe both are just a bit too powerful to use in such quantities.
Don’t serve this too cold or, if you do, let it warm a bit before enjoying it and it should mellow a bit.