Josh got me this for Christmas as part of an assorted six pack. Tasted Tuesday evening while concocting an organic carrot pate/hummus with the leftover tahini I had from making baba ghanouj last week. Reviewed in a snifter.
Appearance: The pour didn't really produce much of a head (yet from the feel, there is a lot of carbonation). Dark brown and completely opaque. A thin white ring clings to the inner perimeter of the glass. Deep red in color if held to a bring light.
Aroma: Subtle chocolate malt bill followed by a contributive vanilla character. Nutty. Cocoa and roasty malt complexities are amplified as the beer warms.
Taste: The flavor isn't overly sweet, and remains light with a forefront of chocolate and crystal malts. Some caramel is there, but in very minute amounts. Nutty and even a bit toasted at the end. Vanilla certainly isn't overwhelming, like Atwater's Vanilla Java Porter. Similarly, this beer maintains les of an extract oriented vanilla flavor (like Empyrean's Dark Side Vanilla Porter). Finish is slightly roasted (and this grows as the beer warms up) and a mild acidity rounds out with even a faint tannic fruit flavor. The vanilla has definitely been toned down since I last had this (over a year ago.
Mouthfeel: High bubbly carbonation and a very light body make this beer extremely easy to drink. The bubbly fizz bites straight down the middle of the tongue.
Overall Impression: Not a robust, thickened porter that one might expect, but certainly one that remains extremely drinkable and crisp. The alcohol stands at a measly 4.7% which I think is fantastic! (I love session ales). Anyway, the vanilla isn't overdone whatsoever and resides more in the aroma than anything. Easy drinking for all occasions.