ZeBeerGuy reviews Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean

Episode VI: Return of the Vanilla Bean


Usually Stone Brewing beers come with a huge level of hype, and in most cases some kind of radical recipe or high abv content or just a huge massive dose of hops. Tonight’s beer came from a huge level of popularity. Now this is a remake from last year, stone had a small line of Smoked Porters with Vanilla beans and Chipotle peppers. These were released in a large quantity special release batch of 12oz bottles. Stone hosted a contest not too long ago where they took to their fans with a contest of what Stone beer the people wanted to see back. Overwhelmingly, Stone’s Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean won this contest by entry not a poll, meaning voters actually submitted this as their choice as opposed to choosing from a list of pre selected beer Stone would remake if won. Offered in 22oz servings this time as opposed to the 12oz bottles of the previous year.

Stone Brewing Company – Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans

IMAG1379Ze Beer? Stone Brewing Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans
Ze Maker?  Stone Brewing Co.
Ze Style? American Porter
Ze Content! 5.9%
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

Stone’s Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans pours a dark black color with just a bit of brown around the edges giving a nice two inch head that retains for several minutes before frothing down to a thin layer that holds on the surface of my beer. The smoke and the vanilla beans mixed together makes for an interesting aroma you can smell the aroma, in more of a raw bean form, but instead of the typical light sweet aroma you get from the oils it adds a type of body to the aroma. I know that sounds weird how can a scent have body to it? It gives of a certain dense and thick aroma, almost as if the scent envelops the sense as opposed to just presents itself. On the palate the vanilla comes through a lot sweeter than it did on the aroma, balancing out the roasted grain aroma the porter naturally gives off. Obvious coffee notes are on the palate, but any kind of sweet malt presence is really overshadowed by the vanilla sweetness. The smokiness also takes a little bit of a back seat on the palate compared to the aroma. It is as if the smoke and the vanilla switch places from aroma to palate. The mouth feel is a bit on the smoother side, not quite creamy but not too light or crisp either. The finish lingers on a bit leaving a nice roasted grain characteristic in your mouth ending on just a bit of a dark bitter sweet chocolate. As the beer warms up the smokiness dissipates and it becomes a bit sweeter, but the finish has the same linger from the beginning to the end.

Now although I would practically consider myself a Stone Fanboy, this one just doesn’t do it for me, and I am not completely sure why. It’s a solid beer though I do feel the smokiness gives a bit of an awkward taste, it is still a great representation of what a smoked beer should taste like. Enjoyable but not your typical home run from Stone in my opinion. Definitely allow for this beer to warm up and open, at first it seemingly had an awkward astringent taste, but that went away after a while, most likely an effect caused from the smokey character. Though I am sure a lot of breweries make a smoked beer, it seems as if not very many bottle them for retail purposes. This is most likely why Stone’s Smoked Porter receives so much success, it is everywhere you need it to be; Kind of like a State Farm Agent.

Should you buy this? Yea, its a good smoked beer and i feel like smokey beers or Rauchbiers are just falling from the grace they should be. I love smoked beers, and this is definitely one worth picking up, especially if you haven’t had it. Just because this beer wasn’t exactly up my alley it doesn’t mean it is at all bad in any way, this just goes to show how one mans preference can’t really interfere with the craftsmanship of the beer.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at [email protected]

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