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Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Smoked Porter - Vanilla BeanSmoked Porter - Vanilla Bean

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

531 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 531
Hads: 2,326
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 26.22%
Wants: 113
Gots: 346 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MiScusi on 08-31-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean Alström Bros
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Reviews: 531 | Hads: 2,326
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On cask for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a tan head that settles to an oily film. No lacing on this one. Smell is of smoked malt, nutty aromas, and slight vanilla bean. Taste is of smoked malt and smoked meat with a very subtle vanilla note on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation and is somewhat flat. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that I was expecting much more from. The vanilla beans are very hard to locate in both the aroma and flavor of this beer.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap the other day at winter storm. I'm not the biggest fan of porters but this one was pretty interesting as it was loaded with vanilla flavor and smell.

The beer poured a black color that produced a nice fluffy tan head. It faded after a minute and left behind some lace. The smell was half of coffee/dark malts and half of vanilla. I couldn't detect the smoke flavor in the aroma like I could with the regular bottled version. The flavor was heavy on the vanilla flavor and I could taste the smoke flavor a little. There was plenty of roasted malt/coffee flavor there but everything was smoothed over by the vanilla.

Overall, I think that its an alright porter but the vanilla really gave it something nice. I guess that should tell you something: that someone who doesn't drink a lot of porters enjoys this beer. I guess that either makes it a really good beer or a watered down version that everyone can enjoy. Judge for yourself.

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Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a half finger high beige head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of vanilla bean in the nose.
T: The initial taste has notes of smoke, but this quickly transitions to lots of flavors of vanilla, which persist through the finish, which also has a hint of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is rather easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden and the sweetness and vanilla flavors are balanced enough from being overpowering.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dont like this as much as the chipotle version, but its still a nice porter. it pours a lazy looking dark brown color without a whole lot of head. it smells very strongly of vanilla beans, sticky and sweet, fresh. the smoke smell and flavor is largely masked by the vanilla, which i think is a major detriment to this beer. the original is great for that robust smoke flavor, and the chipotle version really enhanced that property, but its not as evident with the vanilla, and its missing to me. flavor is good though, desserty, sweet. i wouldnt drink a bunch of these, but one is fine. might also be nice with a creamy dessert like panacotta or something. feel is good, low on carbonation but thats okay here, sturdy body, sugary finish. an excellent porter on its own, but compared to the rerular smoked porter, it seems unnecessary.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with an impressive head that leaves quite a few shards behind

Smell: Loads of vanilla in the aroma; black bread underneath; hard to detect the smoke

Taste: Black bread, up front, with the vanilla developing and overwhelming the middle; after the swallow, the charcoal flavors dominate, leaving a bitter coffee character in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The flavors in this beer to not meld together - they compete with one another with the vanilla up front and the char (rather than smoke) in the back; would be a very nice vanilla porter if the smoke was excluded but as a smoked porter, the original is much better

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone's usual brash demeanor takes a more delicate stride with the vanilla coat that adorns their ever popular Smoked Porter.

The beer pours like many other porters; with a dark brown color and delicate creme that gives the dark ale a very espresso-like appearance. Capped by the dainty off white foam that's fueled by carbonation, the beer trails with subdued islands of lace.

But a visit to the nose brings something different- the coffee and chocolate notes that are familiar to porters are complemented by the unmistakable and savory veil of vanilla and campfire. Where the mild smoky notes bring about a spice complexity, the vanilla soothes the senses and evokes a calming response to the nose.

The love affair that the smoky coffee flavor and vanilla companionship provide a masculine and feminine taste that plays out on the semisweet malt base of slightly scorched molasses, light taste of malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates. Toast, walnut oils, and coconut play out underneath the firm malt underpinnings and the decoration of smoke and cream.

Mild to texture, somehow the palate expects more fullness, richness, and viscocity. But the low-lying carbonation allows the ale to rest weightedly on the palate for full appreciation of flavor for a semi cask-like effect. A patient transition across the middle palate lands at the finish with a light mouthfeel of silk and mint-like alcohol warmth.

Although the vanilla provides a soothing effect to the otherwise masculine porter, the mouthfeel keeps me yearning for an imperial version of this beer. But its effortless palate and high rate of drinkability more than make up for it.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey.

Pours near black and has very little head or lacing. Perhaps a bit more in that department than the chipotle version. Nose is strong, strong vanilla. That's about is as nearly all the smoke and roast are overwhelmed. Taste is similarly unbalanced, although I won't complain, as it is quite a nice flavor. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Drinks fairly well. Nice and refreshing....would be a great dessert beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear light black color porter with a large light brown foamy head. Aroma of light chocolate notes with light smoky note notes with some vanilla undertones are pleasant. Taste is a mix between chocolate malt notes offset by some vanilla with discreet smoky flavors. Body is thinner then I was hoping for with good carbonation. Well brewed and easy to drinking but lacks some depth and body to be truly great.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark mahogany body with excellent clarity. An inch of off-white head forms.

Smell: As advertised, there's plenty of smoke and vanilla, and they work pretty nicely together. The porter base is dry, roasty, slightly ashy. Vanilla gives an illusion of richness to an otherwise dry beer.

Palate: Lots of natural and tasty vanilla flavor, along with a present but nicely integrated smokiness. Roasted malt, a touch of cigar and coffee. The body is medium verging on light. Carbonation is at a lower-medium level. Vanilla lingers, but the finish dries up nicely without being particularly bitter. This is a really enjoyable take on an already good beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, a decent New Year's Eve kickoff, if there ever was one.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick amber colour, with two fingers of weakly puffy, and mostly just bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent, if awkward webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of roasted, gamey caramel malt, wet dark bread, bittersweet chocolate, burnt cream, an acrid nuttiness, vanilla that I only notice because it's in the freaking name, a bit of earthy yeast, and very tame weedy, leafy hops. The taste is more toasted caramel malt, a rather emergent vanilla bean sweetness, a now more ethereal smoked meatiness, middling cocoa powder, a touch of mid-day cold coffee, and weak leafy, weedy hops.

The bubbles are present, in a genial, mostly supportive frothy measure, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and pretty much straight-up smooth, with a cold creaminess waiting in the wings. It finishes on the sweet side, the bready caramel, vanilla, and fading cocoa notes carrying the day.

A pleasant enough re-imagining of the original smoked porter, wherein the vanilla guest star eventually overcomes the inherent smokiness of the base beer. I actually like this one better overall, for the same reasons - less acrid meaty smoke (save that for the summer BBQs on my deck), and more sweet, sweet vanilla - the sort of thing I used to derive from homemade vanilla vodka - yeah.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 44 Stone, Columbia, MO on 7/26/12

A - Poured an opaque, jet black color with a small, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of vanilla with some mild smoky notes.

T - It tasted smoky with a nice vanilla touch to mellow the smoke. Nice roasted malt flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is really tasty. I think I like this better than the original version.

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Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poures a roasted nut brown with a thinner somewhat creamy off white head atop,the color seems to be a bit lighter than an avergae porter.Aromas are smoked and somewhat earthy with the vanilla pretty faint and in the background.The vanilla flavors are more pronounced on the palate intermingling nicely with the dryer,lighter earthy/smoked flavors.A fuller creamy feel is nice but I have to admit I was expecting a little more from this beer,I would have liked more vanilla in the aromas and a little more smoke on the palate.In saying that it's still pretty damn good,Stone is held in real high regard from me.

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Photo of oline73
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark brown with some red when the light hits the edges. There is a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Tons of vanilla here. Not getting a whole lot of smoke. Mildly sweet roasted malt and vanilla beans.

Taste: I am getting some of the smoke here. The smoke and roast are a bit smoother than the chipotle version. The vanilla beans show up throughout the sip with a slight malt sweetness. There is a mild vanilla roast in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very smooth carbonation and a really dry finish.

Overall: I liked this better than the chipotle version. I enjoyed both, but I'm a sucker for vanilla. Very nice.

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Photo of nickfl
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of if white foam on an opaque, black body. Ok retention and good lace.

S - Light smoke and some thick toffee. Notes of mocha and molasses with a distinct vanilla character.

T - Brown toffee and caramel up front. Some molasses in the middle with a hint of coffee appearing and vanilla starting to show through. The finish is full of chocolate and coffee with nutty vanilla and lingering smoke.

M - Moderately thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Very nice, the smoke and vanilla combine nicely with the dark, sugary malt. It is a bit too sugary for my taste however and I really can't imagine drinking more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask in the Bistro.

A: Very dark, pretty much black with a tan head.

S: Smell is like vanilla ice cream to me. But it still retained some of the smokiness.

T: Initially it tasted like a great vanilla float, to be honest. Very wide range of flavors though. The smoked flavor isn't as noticeable, it becomes more roasted/nutty.

M: Very smooth, seemed to coat the mouth a bit. Very pleasant.

D: I could drink this all day.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Displays a reasonably clear, dark brown body capped by a modest bone white head.

Smell: Nicely fragrant vanilla top note atop scents of light cocoa powder, mild roast coffee, and smokey peat.

Taste: Dark maltiness with taste of dark whole meal bread and hints of cocoa and coffee. Moderate sweetness. Vanilla coming through as a generous splash of A&W Cream Soda. A bit more coffee peeking through. Very subtle earthy bitterness tucked away in the back. Dries out for the most part, leaving you with a taste of lightly roasted, toasted vanilla bean pods.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, pleasant, and without any hard edges. Just as the standard iteration gives you just enough smoke character, so, too, does this give you just enough vanilla.

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at nerax.

Light bubbly head super dark brown color.

Nose of loaded vanilla light smoke coffee roasted malt oak creamy chocolate.

Taste is semi sweet loaded with vanilla creamy light choc some bitterness lingering sweet and bitter and lots of vanilla.

Mouth is creamy and rich med to heavier body low carb.

Drinkability is good with low abv, no sticky or syrupy flavors, smooth and creamy demeanor.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served on-cask into a 25 cl Leffe goblet at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were above average.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention. Colour is a dark amber-black. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Smoke, dark malts, yeast, cream, and roast. Complex and enjoyable. Smoke is dominant. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Smokey with cream. Some dark malts. Timid. Balanced decently. Built okay for a smoked porter, but I've had better. Vanilla is subtly present and is the best aspect of the flavour. Not bold, unique, or special. I like it but it's not great.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Too light and too thin. Not enough cream. Weak. Should be more coarse. Complements the flavour decently.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but it suffers from the cask; it'd be better on-draught. I'd like to try this properly. I've had far better beers in the style.


10/25/14: bottle served into a snifter in Austin, TX. Expectations are fairly high given my first experience with this from the cask. Truncated notes:

A: 1.5 finger wide head. Nice khaki colour. Good creaminess/thickness. Full and supple looking, with an even consistency and a soft complexion. Retention is good - 8 minutes.

Body is an opaque black; not an ink or jet black, but a dark black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Looks good for a smoked porter.

Sm: Vanilla bean is present on the front end, but fades. I don't pick up on any overt smokiness - at least not in the rauchbier sense of smokiness. Smells like a nice porter, but not a smoked one: cream, dark malts, a hint of chocolate, milk sugar, and a bit of coconut.

Quite appealing. A pleasant aroma of above average strength. Vanilla is the star of the show, as it should be.

T: A lovely balance of dark malts, milk chocolate, lactose sugar, and authentic vanilla bean. Quite well built, if a bit simple. And not at all smokey. It's just a tasty vanilla porter with great balance and an effective flavour profile.

Not the most intricate brew out there, but the subtlety of the vanilla is lovely, and it's so well integrated I'm impressed.

Constructively, it has one of the briefest flavour durations of any porter I've ever tried - let alone purported smoked porters.

Mf: Creamy, smooth, wet, and medium-bodied. Supple and soft. Great overall presence on the palate. Texture complements the taste very well; the softness and creaminess elevate the beer beyond the potential of the taste.

Overall: A very drinkable enjoyable vanilla porter with no smokiness whatsoever, this is a tasty well-priced beer from Stone. One of the only Stone beers I'd actually want to purchase again. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. I'd recommend it to friends - begrudgingly, because it's a Stone brew. Up there with Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter, but again - where's the smokiness?

High B-

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Max's, pours a nice cloudy brown color. Smell is of faint vanilla, tannish head to it. Great creamy mouthfeel, well balanced with tons of roasted maltiness and a present, but subtle vanilla undertone. Finishes clean and smooth. Very flavorful porter, Stone shines through once again, one of the best beers I had at the bar all night.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On-tap 1/7/2014 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains smoky roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with a strong and sweet vanilla flavor up front followed by a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character. There’s some smokiness in the background as well as flavors of chocolate and coffee. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice flavorful porter to drink for a long time.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bottle with my Brother and Karsten, enjoyed chilled in a stout glass.

The color is dark brown bordering on black with thin beige head good retention with fine bead and lace that sticks. The smell is more vanilla than any beer I have had in recent memory with nice floral sweet and earthy attribute which augments the base very well. The smoothness carries into the taste with nice mild creamy texture which compliments the mild smoke in the malt with moderate carbonation and semi-dry finish..

The flavor is really good with a lot more complexity than most beers of this strength with nice caramel in the malt with mild roasted and slight smoke with the vanilla adding a smooth and almost creamy accent to enhance the sweetness somewhat. I really like the way the vanilla works but I have a feeling the chipotle may be a little more to my taste since the smoke in the pepper could be complimentary to the base. I like the vanilla but it does seem to soften the smoke aspect I enjoy most in the original.

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Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date

LOOK: Dark brown hue, clear, ample tan head

SMELL: Vanilla, cocoa, mild char, dried grass, ghost-like smokiness

TASTE: Burnt grain, very smooth, mild smokiness, coffee grounds, kiss of vanilla, hint of alcohol, nutty, moderate hoppiness, ashy burnt finish

Trying this again after over a year, perhaps my palate changed or the beer was tweaked a bit ... flavors seem to mesh well together. Worth a go.

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Photo of russpowell
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up at Goebel's in Wichita...

Pours an effervescent chestnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head. Nice head retention & lacing

S: Smokeyness, roastyness, faint vanilla notes

T: Follows the nose, some dryness too along with faint coffee notes up front. Smokey notes mix with mocha as this warms, some vanilla & woody notes as well. Finishes dry, roasty, with mocha notes

MF: Medium bodied, fairly firm carbonation

I think I prefer the plain Jane Version more, but glad I got to try it. I think vanilla in Porters is something I like in theory more than practice. Drinks alright...

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice looking beer, though the head just keeps on growing off the initial pour. Guess I could have done it less aggressively. Regardless. The vanilla is a nice tone on here, but there is so much of it that it gives this very sweet tone to things that seems too pronounced to me. I salute the idea and the execution, but I think it could stand to be a bit more rounded.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 9/20/2012. Pours slightly hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger dense light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big vanilla bean, toffee, caramel, toasted malt, chocolate, cream, and light herbal. Very nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of vanilla, chocolate, caramel, toffee, roasted malt, cream, light smoke, light citrus, and earthy hops. Light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of vanilla, toffee, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, light smoke, and earthy spiciness. Nice balance of vanilla and roasted flavors with hop bitterness; no cloying flavors at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and lightly crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is a very nice vanilla porter. Nice amounts of vanilla flavor with good balance; very smooth to drink. Very enjoyable as expected.

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Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 531 ratings.