Smoked Porter - Spring House Brewing Company

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Smoked Porter
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BA SCORE
87
very good

38 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 9
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Spring House Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Prior to brewing our Smoked Porter, Matt selects specialty malts to be smoked over an open flame, imparting a unique flavor profile in the porter. The malts are smoked using apple and hickory wood for a full 72 hours. Spring House Brewing Co. chose to smoke the grain in a local smoke house that dates back to the late 19th century. This one-of-a-kind smoke house imparts layers of smoky depth to the beer that cannot be replicated. Enjoy!

(Beer added by: DIM on 09-18-2008)
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I obtained this growler from a kind BA who sent it due to my Yanks being victorious at least once and a while this season. Unfortunate it had a mishap in shipping, and I lost almost all of it, due to some fine bagging though it remained inside the box. I was able to salvage about a pint and a half of it so I am going to go ahead and sample it as it turned out pretty damn good. Served cold and allowed to warm up in a pint glass ,this one was consumed on 09/22/2008.

The pour on this one was very nice, rich dark notes of a deep chocolate brown were underplayed with hints of a rustic red underneath. Almost opaque in appearance it was not at all easy to see through to the other side of this one, but no visible carbonation was noticed. A small head of maybe an inch rose up initially but quickly faded from site leaving little to nothing in its wake other then some decent side glass contribution.

The aroma was thick, rich with peat and smoked notes, if you like smoked beers, this was the top of the game for smelling. Lots of light fruity notes swilling around and an almost molasses like sweetness that descended upon it as it tried to warm up on me. The flavor was just as good. Intensely smoked, huge rich notes of peat, charcoal, wood, lots of earthy and vinous properties as well. Rich notes of pine almost in the finish attempted to dry out the palate but were pushed aside by a huge smoked malts flavor that lasted on your tongue long after it was gone. For as rich as it was at times, it remained wonderfully balanced and continued to impress me with that aspect of it. The carbonation was kind of low, which is more then likely due to the loss in shipping, but the body was huge, bordering on a full bodied porter this was a definite sipper for sure.

Overall this was an outstanding smoked porter, that although have a mishap in transportation I think held up very well. A little brewery I have never heard of is putting out some really top shelf stuff here, well for them as this is simply superb.

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

64 oz growler into a pint glass.

Pours black (some ruby does come out along the bottom) with 2 fingers of rich and foamy mocha colored head. This maintains a rich look, leaving back a creamy layer that throws some thick spotty swathes of lacing up on the sides of the glass. The aroma is sharp and biting in the nose with a pungent smoked meat character that is tinged with an acrid bite on the edges. Some thick sweet notes of chocolate and caramel sit behind the smoke, while herbal tones and a bit of earthy spice mix in as well.

The sweetness really comes out in the taste as this warms, with chocolate and some lighter toffee notes being thick and sticky up front. The deep bitterness of the roast and hops really kicks it into high gear next, with earth, spice, and green citric character mixing in with a deeply burnt back end to the profile. The smoke is much more subtle here in the taste, lingering on the roof of the mouth but it's those dark blackened malts that are probably remembered the most about this after each sip. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a big creamy sharpness that sits on top of some hefty underlying chewiness. Some very light alcohol presence in felt in the body but is hid fairly well here overall.

I've been waiting to try this one for a while and I was pleasantly pleased to find a well made Smoked Porter here that kept the smoke heavy in the nose but more subdued in the taste, which is just the way I like them. Drinkibility was decent as well, despite the heavy roasted aspect, but I was more than happy to share this growler as the whole thing would have been a little too much. Nice effort here.

Photo of Slatetank
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for sharing this growler last time I had this was last year, nice to try it again. poured chilled from the growler to a pint.

A - A turbid dark brown, almost black w/ thick band of tan.The bead is tight and the ale leaves thick lace

S - A smoky instense nose like inhaling freshly toasted wood. The burned odor is accompanied by a band-aid-like phenolic scent that while not taking away, still comes off as slightly out of place- almost off putting

M - I found this feel to be average, very astringent and drying for the most part and kind of has the effect of licking an ashtray- not for me, sorry.

T - A flavor that is very heavy on the smoke, the base beer while good and enjoyable suffers slightly from the overuse of smoke here. I like the light woody notes from the malt but the band-aid comes in again and astringent almost medicinal taste of tannin from the wood doesn't help. I enjoy the taste of burnt caramel in the background. I like the beer, don't get me wrong, it just doesn't have to go to '11' probably the smokiest thing I have had in the realm of beer.

D - A strong smoked ale, I would not seek out and probably couldn't handle I whole pint if I had to. The heavy handed use of smoke detracts from this beer, other than that it is a pretty tasty porter.

Photo of Rifugium
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at the Taproom, Lancaster, PA

Dark brown-black pour, with a small beige head that showed just a bit of retention and lacing. Contrary to other reviews, I didn't think the aroma here was too smokey. There's no question that this was a smoked beer, but it was pretty mellow compared to others I've had, and left some room for the dark roasty malts to come out. Similarly, the taste is of dark roasted malts, a good amount of smokey ash, but nowhere near overbearing, tobacco, coffee, cracked grains. Medium body, tasty and drinkable, and easily cleansed from the palate.

This was a well-balanced smoked beer, so considering the last review of it (since mine) was over a year ago, and considering most negative reviews were long before that, maybe Spring House improved their recipe. Or maybe I just liked this beer.

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of stakem
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kegatron for the opportunity to try this one, I really appreciate the generosity Heath.

Poured from a growler that hissed when opened into a snifter. This brew pours a pretty clear brown color but settles to a very dark brown once in the glass. When held to the light it displays some decent clarity if you strain to see through the darkness. Also evident is a display of deep ruby hues about it's color which would not be noticed unless held to the light. A thin layer of creamy tan head appears across the top of this brew created by the turbulence of the pour and release of bubbles from solution. It slowly settles to a ring inside the interior perimeter of the glass. When swirled, a thin amount of patchy lace clings to the glassware before gradually slipping back down and into the brew when sipped.

The aroma of this brew displays the darker roasty side of malt. Initially the malt is perceived to me as quite pete'd with not much else going on. As this brew warms up, more scents come through smelling like heavily roasted grain that isn't so much influenced by pete moss but heavily roasted to the point of being smokey. Finally an indication of the 8.5 % abv is noticed in the backend with an estery presence of alcohol and a false sense of dark skinned fruity sweetness tries to poke through the smoke character and fails miserably (when you consider the big picture) but it is there.

The taste of this brew is heavily roasted bitter grain. Just as the aroma initially indicated, there is a flavor very similar of that of pete smoked barley here (but not quite) before the onset of the smokey grain flavor. Under the smokey flavors of the grain is a minor note of chocolate malt and coffee. The alcohol becomes quite noticeable in this brew in both warming factor and flavor which is a bit estery. Some of the bitterness in this brew is noted as hops, it is not all one sided bitterness contributed by the heavily roasted malt. The hop bitterness comes across slightly herbal and citrusy which adds a nice change of pace that was not immediately noticeable. Not to be distracted here but the highlight of this brew is the roasty character.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate level of carbonation. The star in this offering is no doubt the heavily roasted/smoked barley. Considering the abv, it is quite drinkable and every once and awhile it reminds you of what it is without being too forward or obnoxious. Sign me up for a glass of this whenever it is available but I dont think I could drink more than one. There is a long lingering aftertaste of smoked barley left in the mouth which is really enjoyable regardless of whether or not this style of beer is your thing. The finish of this brew is a bit drying which really helps to playout the flavor of the smoke here. I would recommend you give this a try, I enjoyed it.

Photo of woodychandler
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Haynies were in town for a visit and I wanted to take them somewhere new, so we headed south in Lancaster County.

Matt handed this to me with a two fingers' worth of deep-tan head with very good retention. Color was a deep-brown with NE-quality clarity and cola highlights. Nose was redolent with smoke from 100% applewood, courtesy of a local butcher shop. Mouthfeel was thick and full with a lot of smoke on the tongue. Finish was dry, smoky and simply delicious. Nice lacing throughout. I could definitely envision this with some smoked Gouda.

Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for sharing this growler at the Brass Rail.

A: The porter is a dark caramel color, a ruddy brown tone that is opaque. Half a finger of head didn't lace as it receded.

S: The nose is damned near over-smoked. The intensity rivals, surpasses even, many of the Bamberger rauchs that I've had. The aroma is so strong that a scent best described as band-aid like emerges.

T: The body of the ale is well-smoked but not so much that the porter flavors disappear. The porter has sharp roasted grains. The burnt flavors accentuate the smoked element. That smokiness is intense, bitter and over-done. The result is a big taste that doesn't hesitate to scorch the tastebuds. The smoke is more than a curehouse taste, it is almost like the whole damned house burned down. It's big and bold, maybe a little over the top, but I enjoy it (not love it, mind you).

M: This could be the scorched earth policy of the brewing world. A dark, mysterious ale that imposes its will on the palate.

D: I can't imagine getting through an entire growler of this beer. If you like a good smoked beer, this is definitely worth checking out.

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler obtained via Growling at the Moon from dashirey. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" light brown head over the cloudy reddish dark brown brew. Thick frothy head falls ever so slowly, with heavy coating lacing. Aroma is SMOKE, reminds me I have a Schlenkerla in the fridge. That is a good thing. Taste starts sweet, balancing with bitterness quickly, and smoke is present throughout. Mouthfeel is smooth and easy, and drinkability is great as well. Have to love a smoked beer that actually is smoked from beginning to end!

Photo of ShanePB
2.75/5  rDev -30.2%

Photo of IPAchris
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BMart
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of ffejherb
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler into shaker pint on 10/29/09.

A - Poured an extremely dark, murky brown body with deep amber and reddish hues and a finger's worth of foamy tan head that settled into a quarter inch of retention and spattered the walls of the glass with thick, intricate lacing.

S - Wow! This smells like the charred remains of your 90-year-old grandfather who used to smoke three packs a day since he was about twelve. Spring House Smoked Porter reeks of burnt logs, peat, smoked meat and campfire notes. Hints of chocolate and tobacco also peek out from underneath the layers of burnt wood and ashes.

T - Lots and lots of smoked, charred wood with subtle chocolate notes in the background. The smokey character imparts not so much a meaty flavor, but rather a very burnt, blackened taste that lingers on the palate. Finishes with just a hint of ashtray in the backend, followed by extremely earthy, woody and smokey notes.

M - Medium bodied with a robust mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Finishes on the dry side with a touch of earthy hop bitterness and hint of astringency on the palate.

D - This is about as extreme as you can get for a smoked beer. But you know what? I like it... a lot, actually. While it's not something you can pound, this is still pretty damn drinkable for what it is. I had no problem putting down about two pints of this in one sitting.

Photo of IdrinkGas
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Deuane
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Deep, dark brownish copper with a thin light tan head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-BAM! No doubt that this is a smoked brew. I think I am in Bamberg! Actually a bit overwhelming and one dimensional. I understand what they are doing but I feel it is too much. An odd aroma of band-aid/gauze pad emerges in the background.

T-Rich dark roasted malts and then dominating smokiness that is intense and over-done. I am a BIG rauch beer fan but this seems one dimensional and actually becomes harsh.

M-Medium bodied and sharp....smokiness lingers LONG--too long. Like chewing charcoal briquetes!

D-A decent smoked porter that I can appreciate for giving something like this a try but man...tone it down a bit. This is palate bashing. No way in hell could I finish or want to finish a growler of this....heck 5 of us could even do it! With the differences in ratings between last years batch and this years maybe things have changed....and if they have it has been for the worse.

Photo of hollywood_15063
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of wedge
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

@ Spring House Taproom

Very dark, nearly black colored body topped with a thin, creamy head. Smells of chocolate malt, mellow smoke, and char. The flavor is smokier, though it never gets all that smokey really. Chocolate, coffee roast, a slight sweetness, and some light black malt dryness. Satisfying, medium-plus body with some nice fluffiness. No hint of booze - in fact, it was surprising to see how strong it was. Better as it warms closer to room temperature. I didn't find this to be as bold as some other people, but it was certainly enjoyable.

Photo of jpd7374
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of DIM
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

note: The malts are smoked over apple wood.

a: This was a very dark, murky, brownish, ruddy red. It poured with a thick, creamy light tan colored head. Decent lace and retention.

s: The smoke dominates (bacon?!) but some porter does manage to peek through. Dark, grainy chocolate, some vanilla, and a little sourdough breadiness.

t: Great balance here. The meaty smoke comes and goes during each sip letting the porter shine through. There is some bitter dark chocolate to be found along with some sourdough bread. The alcohol is very well masked.

m: This has a big body for a porter. The carbonation is creamy and long lasting. I love the lingering smoke flavors.

d: What a treat to find this in my home county. They struck a very nice balance with this one. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of DaveHack
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know how to explain this beer. Not usually into porters, but was blown away tonight by this Smoked Porter.

Look is kind of hard as we only had pours info small taster glasses, but I will be able to update this tomorrow after we pop the grolwer. Was dark brown with a foamy tan head.

Smells like the inside of a smoke house. Simply amazing applewood smell.

Taste lives up to the smell. Starts of malty, and then the smoke comes through. The most smoke I've ever tasted in a beer, and it's a great thing. Would be great with a nice smoked brisket or bacon.

Mouth is a little rough and dry, but not bad at all. Lingers for a long time, even after you've had something else.

At 8.5%, you shouldn't drink this one all day, but you could. Sipping on a few of these on a nice fall day cooking out on the grill or around a bonfire would be idea.

Probably one of my top 5 beers just based on creativity and pure taste.

P.S. Talked to Matt about this and he said that he has made it less smokey than previous batches, which is probably a good thing. This is a great beer, but I could see anything more as being over smoked.

Edit: Having this on tap was incredible, possibly the best beer I've ever tasted. We opened a growler of this this next night, and I would rate taste and smell both 4.5 only one day later in the growler. Three days after that, taste is a 4.5 still, but smell drops to a 4.0. Growlers were filled at the same time, but not pressure filled or even in their growler. Could have just been my glass, but the beer is definitely better on tap.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to DIM for the chance to try a growler of this beer!

a - nice mahogany beer with a solid tan head
S - smoke, smoke, hint of porter sharp notes
T - well balanced thoroughly smoked rauch malts mixed with notes of chocolate, vanilla and a porter bite.
M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, solidly smoked with a pleasant residual smoked malt taste
D - yeah, a couple of pints and this proved to have some strength but was perfect for dinner and after dinner.

well worth trying if you find the opportunity.

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Smoked Porter from Spring House Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.