The Big Smoke - 8 Wired Brewing Co.

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The Big SmokeThe Big Smoke

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BA SCORE
86
very good

138 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 10
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
8 Wired Brewing Co. visit their website
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ADZA on 11-26-2010

Now what is this? A smoked beer?? It really isn't as crazy as it sounds. 250 years ago virtually all beers were smoked (it's true, Google it!), but with the dawning of the industrial revolution most of the smoke lifted. However, in the German town of Bamberg the flame has quite literally been kept alive and to this day the town’s brewers produce world renowned beers brewed with their own special rauchmalz (beechwood smoked malt).

We’ve taken our best porter recipe and added a good measure of that same Bamberg Rauchmalz. The smoke mingles beautifully with the rich, dark roasted chocolate flavours of the porter without being overpowering. Although it pairs extremely well with smoked seafood, barbeques, strong cheeses and hearty stews, its food friendliness isn’t limited to savouries; chocolate and caramel based deserts are great companions too! Trust us; it really isn't as crazy as it sounds.

40 IBU
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 64
Reviews by danieelol:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great new smoked porter from a New Zealand brewery that I have not seen before.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a one finger lighter mocha colored head that held well.The smoke is very faint in the aromas,I picked up mainly chocolate malt and some earthy tones.The palate is well rounded with the smoke coming more into play,it goes well with a nice shot of chocolate and dark roast.Not in your face smoke but a nice well rounded porter roast with decent complexity.

Photo of MadScientist
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very dark brown with a deep garnet hue. The pillowy two fingers of light brown head has a long rendition time.

Big smokey, phenols in the nose with dark stone fruit aromas backing that up. A light caramel sweetness, moderate chocolate and some roast .

Lots of smoke blending with dark stone fruit backed by a moderate toffee-like sweetness and a light bitter chocolate note. There is medium hops bitterness with little hop flavor. The balance is about even between the bitterness and sweetness. The finish is off-dry with a smokey aftertaste.

The Big Smoke name is apt as this beer is defined by a moderately strong smoke aroma and flavor that is well supported by a solidly brew porter underneath.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2012, so it's well out of date. However, the label suggests that it can be aged for a year or two so I'm hoping it has stood the test of time. Acquired ages ago from a webshop. I like the label design.

Poured into a Duvel tulip (thrice). A seriously dark brown hue that appears pitch black in the glass. Holding it to the light reveals plentiful carbonation. It produces a truly vast head of creamy beige foam with amazing stability; this lasts for ages before reducing to a thick surface layer (so much so that three pours were required). An aroma of rich, fruity malt and smoke: notes of prunes, dried fruit, roasted malt, smoke, phenolics, molasses, chocolate, mild coffee, faint TCP and earthy yeast. Intensely deep - total sensory immersion.

Tastes of rich roasted malt with a smoky character and a dry finish. Notes of dried fruit, roasted malt, smoke, mild burnt grain, molasses, phenolics, wood, coffee, a hint of chocolate and earthy yeast. Complex and dry, followed by a malty bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and mildly spicy, with good carbonation. The body is decent but a tad less substantial than might be expected. Rather astringent, with an aftertaste of smoky roasted malt and dried fruit.

Boom! What a beer - like bonfire night personified in liquid. The aroma and flavour have fantastic depth and complexity; a beautiful and well-rounded mélange. Perhaps this has something to do with the age of the bottle - maybe time has allowed the flavour to mellow out and smooth the harshness that a younger brew would have possessed. At any rate, this is lovely and well worth sampling if you have the good fortune to stumble across it.

Photo of BGDrock
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: black, even under light; coffee foam coloured head is fine and full, but fades to a rim quickly

Aroma: cocoa, touch of anise, and peat accompanying lightly

Taste & Mouthfeel: light-medium body, feeling and tasting like drip coffee on the initial sips - quite bitter from the malt, and a little tart; only whispers of peat smoke in the finish, it's competing with burnt coffee bean and losing the battle; flavours linger several minutes, intense and bitter; some caramel malt

Overall: not as advertised! smoke flavour is almost non-existent, it's a coffee beer if anything, and in that respect not a great one, being intensely bitter and just a bit too thin

Photo of Brenden
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Big Smoke is a strong, appropriately thick very dark brown color that stops short of black but lets just a little in at the fringes. A big, soft but strong, creamy tan head ceases to rise at almost two finger in height and keeps itself up for a good while. It never falls to much less than one finger, and it drops some patching with a little bit of legging here and there.
This beer smells deliciously like smoke, almost a little tangy with a smoked meats essence. There's a slight touch of wood, but it's not quite as deep as the flavor. Still, it smells fantastic, and all the smokiness I want is here.
It tastes deliciously like meaty smoke as well. Smoke permeates the tongue without ever getting too harsh, completely part of the malts. Charred woods are all over the tongue too, with absolutely no astringency or harshness at all. There's just a touch of bittersweet cocoa at the periphery and some coffee grounds, part of the nature of the roast, but it's all kinds of smoky and fantastically tasty.
It's got the right depth and heft for a porter, offering a well sustained strength on the fuller side of a medium body. There's just a little carbonation, enough to keep things going, while a nice smoothness rolls along.

Photo of biboergosum
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Classy, upscale presentation - check. Dear import micro price - oh yes. And now for the rest of the story...

This beer pours a very, very dark chestnut brown colour, almost opaque, but for some broad reddish cola highlights when exposed to the June evening sunlight, with one fat finger of thinly foamy beige head, which leaves a few instances of arched lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, meaty to the bone, at first, as the smoked campfire essence bleeds with all things carnal, only to soon cede a bit of territory to a more easy-going cola sweetness, and earthy, leafy bitterness. The taste is a pretty big sidestep from the aroma - right up front I get big semi-sweet chocolate malt, with a supporting stolid breadiness, and then the lingering ashes of a still relevant visceral smokiness, some oily nuttiness, a subtly sour milk note, and adequately bitter earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is quite soft, and unexpectedly caressing, the body a stocky medium weight, and mostly smooth - weirdly, in this particular case, fouled by the hops - yeah. It finishes sweetly malty, of the nutty chocolate bent, with a tame waft of the lead-off smoke, now transferred to a supporting role, and oh so more well suited for it, as the hops persist in assuming the final balancing onus.

A smoked beer with the best tendencies, IMHO - freak me out with aroma, do a context shift with the malt for the taste, and rest on your laurels thereafter. Not a bad thing, that. Overall, a nice, multivaried, if not overly complex, smoked beer. Recommended, if you've the cash to burn.

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty very drinkable smoked porter. Good and substantive hopping. Worth paying up for. I drink the bomber inside of half an hour. Nice colour and wine like hoppy smoked aroma. I was concerned about the chocolate muddling up the character of this smoked porter, rather it smoothed it out and improved drinkability.

Photo of Fatehunter
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Finger and half of tan head, pitch black body.

Smells of beechwood smoke and burnt malt. Very strong aroma.

Strong burnt wood taste, then moves towards a creamy, milk and roasted malt flavor. Delicious.

It has a soft and creamy texture. Low carbonation.

Really good and well put together.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - effectively tar black, thumb of mocha head dissipated quickly to a thin covering
S - definitely has big smoke, a little sour peat aroma, charcoal, and faint hint of fruit syrup
T - definitely delivers what in advertises in terms of smoke, beyond that there are hints of caramel and boozy sweetness
M - medium body, fairly creamy, the smoke gives it a somewhat dry ashy finish
O - its says big smoke and that's exactly what you get, so its hard to argue in terms of rating it, don't bother if you're not a fan of smoke flavour

Photo of thagr81us
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into an imperial pint. Poured a massively dark ruby red brown with a two finger tan head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, smoke, smoked meat, cream, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, smoke, and smoked meat. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. While the smoke was definitely present on this one it really wasn't the star of the show. The roastiness on the armoa definitely dominated this one upon first inspection. On the flavor I was really quite surprised to find a sweet malty aspect going on. I don't think it was needed and rather clashed with some of the smokey and roasty notes. Not a bad representation of the style, but defintely not my favorite.

Photo of GRG1313
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful glass of beer. Pours black and viscous with a firm and thick khaki head.

Nose is medium dark chocolate and plumed coffee with undertones of sweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but with a nice creamy character and carbonation.

Flavors are all big smokey coffee, dark chocolate and big roasted grains with a sweet front palate and an espresso bitter kick.

Finish is all semi-sweet/bitter black chocolate with a hint of black licorice and burnt espresso. The finish goes on forever.

Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. Very dark brown, almost black pour. Just a whispy layer of off white head.

Aroma, some roast, dark chocolate. More smoked peat, bacon. It's not real strong though.

Taste is more pronounced. Very well blended chocolate like malt, canadian bacon, smoked peat. Finishes with the barbeque smoke and some roast, very subtle coffee.

Lighter side of medium bodied, a complimentary amount of carbonation. This drinks very easy, as long as you like it. A real good brew, my first from this country. No buyers remorse with this one. Up there with the Norweigan Wood for my favorite for this style.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark otter-brown pour appears deep black in the glass with a slight creamy khaki colored head that was mostly lasting thoughout the course. Lacing was good providing a thick spongy coating of good coverage on the glass.

S: Freshly burnt timber, burnt chocolate with a earthy campfire minerality of modest strength. Aromatic retention was lasting 4-5 minutes before any show of weakness.

T: For flavor there was a fresh roasty flavor, yet light and easily manageable. Very clean flavor, of fine german quality, with some highlights of freshly burnt timber, chocolate and liquid smoke. As the label states, this is not a smack you in the face flavor, rather one that is clean and finely tuned for a easy consuming experience. Nice level of smoked malt presence but not quite up for the labeling of the big smoke name.

M: Light bodied, smoky charred warmth with a earthy bitterness. Silky texture and feel turning to a creamy and bubbly texture on longer holds. Leaves a fairly clean and gently smoky charred reminder.

D/O: Overall a very easy and clean drinking smoked porter. The emphasis is on its smooth drinking character, lightbodied style that pleases without overwhelming. At 6.2% this would probably of faired better being a point lower in abv% making this a easy drinking smoked session porter.

Photo of CrazyDavros
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a fading head.
Heavy smoke on the aroma, with nice smoked ham and campfire notes. Also caramel, soft roast and sweet bready malt.
Lots of smoke as a flavour too. More roasted malt presence though, along with a little sweet malt underneath. Also some soft piny and earthy hops which seems unnecessary.
Could use more carbonation.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle. Served in a mug, the beer pours dark brown with a couple inch frothy tan head. The head stays around a very long time, and there's a good amount of lacing. Aroma is smoked and roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of coffee. Although smoke is noticeable in the aroma, it's not close to being overpowering at all. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, the brew tastes like smoked and burnt/charred malt, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. I think the bitter/roasty flavors are bit stronger than the smoky ones, but it's still a tasty brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and has high carbonation, way more carbonation than I would like for this beer. I think it's a decent enough brew overall, I'd buy this again at some point in the future.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Bottle: Poured a black color porter with a light brown huge foamy head with excellent retention and some retention. Bottle even kept gushing after first glass had been poured. Aroma of light dry roasted malt with light coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by light dry roasted malt with smoked notes almost non-existent. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I must say that this beer was quite a disappointment compared to other beers from the same brewery with the smoked notes almost non-existent. Makes me wonder if bottle was infected or something since it was gushing a bit.

Photo of smakawhat
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep and super creamy large billowing light tan head. Thick filling cream of a fistfull, getting a little out of control, settling to thick lacing, minimal retention and meringue like lacing. Body color is thick walnut brown nearly black and very opaque.

Nice hints of subtle smoke aroma on the nose. More hints of subtle sweetness and a bit of mild roast character. Hints slightly acrid but very small. Mild hints of carbon dioxide qualites as well. Just relatively ok.

Palate improves nicely. Good solid and nearly rich and creamy palate but not quite. Mild senses of milk chocolate washed away by a bit of tonic water like carbonation. Smoke and a bit ash in the mid palate, but not with much meaty flavor. Aftertaste brings some classic solid porter roast, a bit of leafy and green hop bitterness that is a bit towards pine, which compliments this smoke angle nicely, giving and almost smoked pine tree finish. Hints a little bit of bakers chocolate as well getting darker and less milky, and certainly more bitter.

It's labelled smoke, but it's very understated letting some of the other flavors bounce and play off of it a bit, and getting more forward. It seems the smoke character actually took a back seat, but it still made for an interesting take on the final product letting the other qualities shine through. Unique take on a smoked porter. Decent.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. 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 caused a touch of flatness to it, enhancing the dry finish, but still causing a distraction overal;

Photo of metter98
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer appears black when viewed from afar but closer inspection reveals clear red colors (as well as a moderate amount of carbonation) at the bottom of the glass when it is held up to a light source. It poured with a finger and a half high tan head that took a long time to die down, consistently leaving a finger high head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of smoked malts are present in the nose along with some notes of cola and hints of chocolate malts.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by BBQ-like flavors of smoked beechwood and has a slight amount of bitterness along with hints of chocolate and roasted malts..
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seemed to be over carbonated and requires a careful pour and a lot of patience waiting for the head to die down. However, it has a nice amount of smoke that seems to be well incorporated and balanced with the beer's aromas and flavors.

Photo of CookstLiquor
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Pours solid black and forms a big beige head that dissipates quickly. There are of course plenty of big dark roast notes on the nose backed with tempting smoked meat. Similarly pleasant combination on the palate, with roasty malt flavour up front followed by the meaty smoke flavour on the finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a nice dry finish. Eminently quaffable.

Photo of joecast
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks fantastic in the glass. Head is lighter than expected but thick frothy and sticking to the glass leaving a nice lace. The beer itself is quite dark making it almost impossible to see any light shining through.
The beer has presence.

Certainly much smokies beers out there, but doubtful any smell as appealing as this. The balance and cohesion of the aromas is impressive. Smoke stops short of being a meaty, tangy character and sticks to playing with rather than dominating the chocolate and mild roast aromas. Superb.

The label says smoked porter so as a style I would go with porter over smoked beer. And tasting this beer convinces me that is the right way to go. Great complexity of flavors. Each component is recognizable, enjoyable and fits with the rest of the beer. That dry slight sourness you get in some great porters is there along with a smooth chocolate and coffee character. Smoke is so well integrated I couldn't imagine what this beer would be like without it.

Whew. Thought this would be good, but this is just amazing. Could picture myself easily sitting in a pub on a cold night, roaring fire in the corner and drink pint after pint of this. Wonderful.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Holy shit is this overcarbonated. First pour was nearly all head. After a good half hour, I finally got a full glass. Black color. Three fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is good and some lacing is left.

3.0 S: Really dry and dusty. Bacon smokiness. Light roast. Simple and not particularly enticing.

3.5 T: Taste is a little better. Dry overall again, but there's a little more sweetness in the form of chocolate and caramel. Smoke is fairly light and adds a touch of bacon again. Grainy, dusty, with a moderate roast.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good creaminess, especially for the body. Normally I'd give this a solid 4.0, but I have to penalize the brewer's for the obscene amount of carbonation.

3.5 D: I was hoping this would be smokier than it is. In any case, it isn't a bad beer, but I'd never pay $10 for a bottle of it again.

Photo of ZacHart
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a pitch black brew with a huge, tan fluffy head that reduced to a thin, persistent head.

S: a sultry blend of rich, molasses malt and roasted, smoky scents.

T: a classic porter flavor with a present but not overpowering smoke flavor.

M: thinner mouthfeel than the appearance would imply; on the higher end of carbonation; pretty light overall.

O: a flavorful and not overpowering brew; a great introduction to the flavor of smoked malt for those unfamiliar with the smoked styles

Photo of LampertLand
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

8 Wired 'The Big Smoke' @ 6.2% , served from a 500 ml bottle purchased for $9

A-pour is cola brown from the bottle to near black in the glass with some crimson red peeking thru a quickly dissapating tan head , leaving no lace along the pint

S-smokey malts

T-big smokey tasting porter

MF-ok carbonation , feels full bodied

Ov-ok beer , little to overpowering the smokeyness

prost LampertLand

Photo of JohnnyRay
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I'd heard a bit about this & looked forward to trying it - it didn't disappoint. On pouring, it nearly foamed out of the glass with over three fingers of light brown head, which eventually settled to about half a finger which stayed all day. There was moderate lacing. The colour was almost black with a touch of red at the bottom of the glass. There was light carbonation.
It smelled nice but not strong of smoked malts.
The taste was strong and intense of smoky, dark, roasted malt - very tasty

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The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.