are certain brewing techniques I always thought could be used to make
any beer taste good (for example: adding a ton of hops, or adding a lot
of sweet flavors). Though once in a great while I encounter one that
shows that it’s still possible to screw up what should be an idiot-proof
recipe. Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is a good example of
this. What should be a standard porter with vanilla added, it drinks
like an amateurish homebrew. It’s not horrible, but it’s nowhere near as
good as it should be.
I poured a 64oz growler into a nonic pint glass. My girlfriend picked this up for $12.99 ($0.20 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque black hue. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which dissipates quickly and leaves only a little lacing.
Smell: Quite faint aroma of mineral water and a hint of chocolate.
Taste: There’s a certain quality of faux craft (or “crafty”) beers like
Leinenkugel’s that’s noticeable right away. I’m not sure how to describe
it other than it’s simply not an authentic taste. Right away, I notice
there’s a porter-like composition to this palate, but it’s not as
genuine-tasting at it should be. There’s an essence of dark malt, but
it’s not especially roasty or toasty. It actually kind of reminds me of a
cola gone flat. There’s a consistent sweetness here, but it’s almost as
though it’s from aspartame. There is a vanilla taste on the back end,
though it’s mild and short-lived. All these complaints aside I have to
admit there is nothing particularly off about this brew as far as
brewing flaws. There is a noticeable mineral taste, but it’s tolerable.
Drinkability: Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is most definitely
not a fizzy yellow beer, yet the mouthfeel feels like that of one, only
less carbonated. It’s definitely thin, but not slick; and at least
there’s no cloying aftertaste (or any aftertaste for that matter). For a
6% ABV brew, it’s amazing easy to gulp down, but it should have more
body and be the kind of beer that’s savored, not chugged.