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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

2,137 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,137
Reviews: 510
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 95
Gots: 259 | FT: 15
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,137 | Reviews: 510 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Trenton Road Take-out on a recent trip back home...

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black, with about two full fingers of mocha colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, and I get minimal lacing as it drinks. I also notice that the beer seems a bit thin and transparent around the edges.

S: The nose is really nice. Solid smoke, a little burnt toast, a little chocolate, and some definite vanilla.

T: This beer starts out sweet with a solid malt backbone. It moves on with a quick hit of smoke and a little bit of chocolate. In the middle I get a good helping of sweet malt mixed with a solid amount of vanilla. The sweetness is really pleasant. The finish is more vanilla and sweet.

M: Medium bodied beer. It's sweet, a little smokey, and a little bitter. The beer is actually a bit thinner than I remember it being. Easily drinkable, smooth as it goes down.

O: This is a good beer, but it's a touch too thin for my liking. I think the addition of the vanilla beans takes away some of the smokiness of the base beer as well. Overall, I think the name of the beer is more appealing than the actual taste of the beer.

Photo of mdillon86
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Yallnumbskulls
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of csmartin6
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of JonBarley
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of WDJersey
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of jhighlandbrewing
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Pours dark brown in color with ruby-red highlights when held up to the light. There’s a good finger of beige colored head after a medium pour. Pretty good head retention following each sip, resulting in some pretty good lacing too.

AROMA: Smoked Malts, Vanilla Extract, Charred Wood, Dark Chocolate, & Coffee.

TASTE: There’s a nice chocolate flavor up front, but the smoked malts aren’t far behind. The vanilla starts to come through pretty quick as well, providing an interesting shift in flavor. As the vanilla starts to fade, I’m getting the chocolate flavor again towards the back-end. The finish is relatively smooth with some lingering roasted flavor, as well as some subtle smokiness.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied with an almost powder-like texture on the palate. The carbonation is on the low side.

MOREY’S BOTTOM LINE: The vanilla beans are a nice addition to an already flavorful beer. I’m not a huge fan of smoked porters (though I do enjoy them) and in my opinion, this rendition is an improvement upon the base beer. I haven’t had the chipotle version yet, but if it’s as good as this one, I’m looking forward to it! Cheers.

Photo of Kevlee722
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of nrs207
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with some hints of dark red. Not much of a head. The head was an off white, and quickly dissipated.

S - A little bit of smoke and a lot more sweetness than the standard version from the vanilla. I personally enjoy it, because I think the sweetness balances the smoke.

T - A nice bit of vanilla sweetness to balance the normal smoke. I could see where people might think the flavors clash, but I really don't find that to be the case. I really like the balance. I find that you get an initial rush of vanilla sweetness, then the smoke helps clear the palate and prevent the vanilla from lingering too long.

M - Medium bodied, average carbonation. No alcohol to speak of. Slightly above average mouthfeel overall.

O - Really good beer by Stone. For a standard smoked porter, it packs a good amount of flavor in a drinkable package. I like the vanilla and how it balances the smoked flavors. In the normal Stone Smoked Porter, the smoke seems a bit one note. Not the case in this. Good stuff.

Photo of NickyDee21
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of bennetj17
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark coffee-brown color. Has a glowing brick red hue in the light, and you barely see all the way through it. Tan foam reaches only one finger with decent retention. The aroma has a strong vanilla accent with touches of roast. Sweet smelling but not overly so. I think it smells good.

The vanilla is a bit dominant in the taste, it's not bad but seems to clash with the roasted bitterness, especially toward the finish. It would be nice if the beer was a bit heavier to balance, but this is kind of thin porter, not very robust. The mouthfeel is again a bit lighter than I would prefer, but the carbonation is decent.

Overall a good idea but not a great result. The vanilla character was too much in the end, and it tastes sort of artificial when it's not blended subtly in there. Worth a try but not much else at over $3 for a 12 ounce bottle.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown in color with hints of dark amber when held up to the light and some light amounts of visible carbonation near the edges of the glass. The beer has a finger tall dense dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a couple of large thick patches and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of vanilla bean and smoke.

T: The flavor of this beer starts out with some dark roasted malts with notes of smoke and iodine. After that, the vanilla bean sweetness comes through and there is very light notes of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin but very smooth.

O: This beer is very enjoyable with the sweetness of the vanilla combining nicely with the smokey and roasted malt flavors. Easy to drink but more of a sipping beer than a session beer.

Photo of WeymouthMike
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of inlimbo77
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz, Best by? (think it was late May '12)
Unmarked tulip

A: Pours out a deep reddish brown color. Some chestnut hues. Fairly clear. About two and half fingers of light tan rocky head. Sticking around a while and leaves some nice lacing.

S: Pulling some soft vanilla bean right away. Underneath that you get subtle smoke. Not overpowering. Some nice roast notes.

T: On the tip of the tongue, I got some chocolate bitterness. Then the roast comes into play. It's not overly aggressive by any means. I don't get tons of smoke here for some reason. Right here you get some of that nice smooth vanilla. The roast helps to make it not too sweet an addition. The finish is nice and dry. Hints of bitter chocolate and the vanilla linger for a moment. No alcohol burn at all.

M: It's a medium bodies beer. It's fairly thin for the smoked porter category.

O: B+

Photo of Rathakem
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of steamboatbrewer
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of manutdfan
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of ONUMello
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Appears pitch black unless held up to light, then it reveals a dark reddish-brown. A creamy 1/2-finger head lingers.
S: Smells like a vanilla latte, in a very good way. A nice creaminess comes through along with coffee and malt undertones.
T: A bit smokey up front, followed by coffee, a hint of vanilla, then chocolate. A bit disjointed though.
M: This isn't nearly as smooth as the nose would imply. Certainly not bad, just not what I expected.
O: In the new bottled vanilla vs chipotle battle, I give the round to chipotle. By no means is this a bad beer, it just isn't harmonious and I'm not in love with it like I am most of Stone's lineup.

Photo of illini4x4
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of Pahn
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter. Drank side by side with the chipotle version.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a 1 inch light tan head that dissipates quickly with popping bubbles. No lacing but for a couple spots. Pours a dark brown with red highlights.

Smell: Definitely smell vanilla, and it works. Brings out the pastry like malt notes, and balances great with any smoky/roasty aromas in the original beer.

Taste: First sip starts great, then quickly gets to be too much vanilla. Base smoky porter stops riding that "smoky beer with hints of dessert" line and goes right to "dessert drink." I'd like the vanilla to be a highlight, since (as in the smell) it would really compliment the flavor of the base beer, but the vanilla is the main player here.

That said, there are some great flavors brought out by the vanilla. The chocolate notes of the beer are emphasized, with some sips being mostly like drinking cocoa with vanilla. There's also an almond-like flavor that comes from the vanilla / base beer interplay that I love. However, the overall flavor always tastes kind of unnatural and unbalanced; it never really finds its way back to "finished beer." Kind of tastes like I bought a Stone Smoked Porter and blindly added vanilla myself.

The bottom line is that, while the flavors are good, I never actually sit back and enjoy the beer, but rather find myself saying, "That's weird / strong."

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Creamy. Low side of moderate carbonation (seems a little lower than the chipotle). Good finish; slightly dry.

Overall: The flavors in this beer grew on me, but never got to be something I'd like to drink a lot of. Unfortunately, it sort of squanders the base beer and turns it into dessert.

Photo of OldhouseRecs
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of thegerm87
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of DefenCorps
3.21/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Rodman's, served in my Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche tulip.

A very dark brown that ends up being black in the glass, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. The vanilla really dominates the nose, making it seem one dimensional. However, it does accentuate the cocoa and mild caramel notes of the base beer (the latter was obscured in the chipotle version), while doing a good (but unwelcome ) job of reducing the potency of the roast and smoke.

The palate opens sweet with plenty of vanilla, including a vanilla-like sweetness, coupled with the cocoa and chocolate (which have taken on more of a milk-chocolate note rather than a dark chocolate note that was present in the Chipotle version). The vanilla sweetness does also shine light on the not-so-positive fact that this beer is lighter in body than would be ideal. Mildly smoky on the finish with a moderate roast and cocoa character that is not very harmonious when paired with the intense vanilla. While the vanilla flavor is wholly natural, it is not terribly enjoyable IMO

Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 2,137 ratings.