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The Big Smoke - 8 Wired Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The Big SmokeThe Big Smoke

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 141
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.39%
Wants: 11
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 (38) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 141
Photo of TheDudeRules
1.63/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a lowball glass.

Liquid is a dark brown with a small amount of off white head. This beer is potent. I can pick it up from a foot away from my glass. The smell is just lovely. A dirty foot that has been dipped in tar. Even though it smells that spectacular to me I venture for a sip. Somebody ground up some smokey beef jerkey and dumped it in my glass. The carbonation was good and the beer rolled on my tongue nicely. Everything else was awful, and I mean real awful. Two sips and I was spent.

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Photo of corby112
1.76/5  rDev -54.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark brown color that appears black in the glass with a two finger frothy beige head that slowly fades into a lasting cap. Spots of soapy lacing left behind.

Smoked malt aroma with lots of toasted malt without feeling burnt along with some faint sweetness. I was hoping that it would be smokier but it is pretty tame. Slightly meaty with hints of charcoal and burnt toast as well as some coffee bean and dark chocolate.

Medium bodied with lots of tight carbonation up front and an odd metallic flavor that covers up the smoke. Likely infected with hints of charcoal, burnt acrid charred toast and ash. Very dry finish really gross and extremely difficult to drink.

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Photo of BGDrock
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A huge, rocky, beige head quickly overwhelms a Harp nonic before it slowly turns to seafoam, leaving patches of lace. This is a dark brown beer with carbonation on the inside wall of the glass and dark ruby highlights. The look is reminiscent of an ice cream float.

There is a hint of some smoke and some Baker’s chocolate and soap. Smokiness is drawn out with each sip.

Summer sausage is discernible along with oak, dark chocolate and a modest finish of black coffee. Overall, this is okay but nothing special.

A medium body with watery texture, lively carbonation, and residual sugar.

The long journey may have taken a toll on this one, which is generally muddy.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First try for this brewery for me. The Big Smoke is smoked, but not all that big. But I'm not reviewing relative to name. So..

Dark brown, rich, almost black. Bright in a way. Small head, little retention. Would make a nice look if the head could pull more umpf...

Smoke isn't what I'd firstly say as the aroma. Darker malts and prune, some coffee, and metallic sents.

Chocolate malt begins and fades a bit fast, baked caramel is soft and underlying. Sweet underneath, prune and some anise in the middle. Smoke is fleeting, but still there. It borders on a metallic smoke, kind of tannin-y.

Nothing bad here. Solid beer, would like more smoke or something else that would provide strength.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown bordering on opaque black almost and with a huge and foamy, tan brown head on top that is almost half the size of the pint shaker I poured the bottle in to.

Smoked aroma to begin and a strong one at that with a lot of spice and peat in there. There is some strong, dark chocolate aroma with some wood and burnt malts too. I can detect a hint of caramel as well but it is the smoke that dominates.

Roasted malts, a little smoke and some dark cocoa to kick thing off along with hints of caramel and even some coffee in there. There is a little wood in there too.

Quite sweet , smooth and creamy with a touch of alcohol and moderate carbonation. There is a fair amount of smoke in there and the finish is ever so slightly dry.

A nice beer once it settles down a little; after the first sip I didn't think I was going to like this one due to the strong smoked flavours but this subdued slightly as time went on and it turned in to a not bad beer. It could have slightly better balanced but it was one that I enjoyed and was a somewhat unusual offering.

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Photo of rudzud
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Recently stumbled across my notes from The Festival 2012. Lets do this!

A - Poured a wonderful dark brown nearly black hue with a good two finger mocha head that faded to leave a thick blanket and light side lacing. Very, very nice.

S - Aromas of tons of smoke, think I heard someone say Beechwood. Burnt malts. For me, this is just too acrid/burnt/smoky.

T - Taste is the nose personified. Tons of smoke and chocolate char, creamy milky chocolate malt and faint vanilla. For my personal taste it is too smoky, but I understand where they were going.

M - Mouthfeel is very nice, light carbonation makes a very silky/creamy beer.

O - Overall, this beer sure delivered what it promised, a very smokey potent brew. Very glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, dark brown...almost black in color. Tan head that soon becomes a healthy lacing of foam.

Smell: Like smoked bacon, syrup and some licorice.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Big smoke flavor upfront and some syrup too. Good carbonation. Smooths out into a good roasted chocolate flavor. Getting a syrupy taste at the tail end, that lingers. Good amount of malts. Lighter-medium in body.

Overall: Not a huge fan of smoked beers, but I really enjoyed this one. Would get it again, depending on what I was pairing this up with for a solid dinner option.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, opaque dark-chocolate brown with a thick, though not persistent, dark tan head. It fizzes a lot, but more like cola than beer. Aroma has roast coffee and semi-sweet chocolate notes, plus hints of molasses and caramel. Smoky flavor has malty, woody and coffee notes with a hint of caramel. Texture has plenty of lively, soda-like fizz but not much body. OK as far as porters go - not the best, but worth at least a try.

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Photo of Macca
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours black with a solid 2 centimetres of dense beige head which drops down to leave a persistent covering.

Hardly getting any smoke on the nose. Lots of milk chocolate though.

Smoke comes through stronger on the palate. BBQ flavoured. Certainly not as overpowering as something from Bamburg. A lot more subtle. Chocolate still there though. A hint of espresso.

Medium to full bodied.

Not sure about this one. I think i was expecting more smokiness. Maybe it's the subtlety that makes it good? I'll have to revisit and try and figure it out.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Slowly opened bottle with a huge "hiss" that didn't abate. Ouch. The over-carbonated beer started to perculate out of the bottle and I had everything to pour the 500mls into three pint glasses!

Not a good start.

A: deep, dark copper color with, imagine this, amazing thick head that took awhile to settle down, big frothy bubbles
S: slightly cloying, light smoke but more underlying CO2 throughout (again, imagine that!), some treacle that is very interesting
T: CO2 bite detracts from overall taste, soft chocolaty taste with some, but not a lot, of smoke flavor, disappointing overall, finish is CO2 bite
M: soft and mellow with noticeable CO2 bite

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark as a starless night. Massive World Class head, lacing and retention. Nice rich nose of caramel sweetness, dark fruit (plum, fig) over a light note of smoke. As it warms, the smokiness increases but never really comes to the forefront. Heavy medium body with a fair amount of creamy texture. Above average carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish. The flavor profile is a bit below normal intensity, extremely well balanced and a bit complex. It begins with a slightly bitter dark chocolate note over a light caramel sweetness. This flows into a very mild bitterness with distinct notes of dark fruit. The finish is where a light hint of smoke emerges as the flavors fade. This one is good, but there is no big smoke aspect.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Explodes out of bottle with a five+ finger light tan head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Deep mahogany color, no highlights. Fierce carbonation and medium bodied. Smoky nose and flavor is a smooth smoky malt with a serious smoky aftertaste. Pricey at $10.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of dansmcd
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark cola colour, almost black. Small skin of frothy head, sticky bubbles cover the glass.

S - Open fire, pot pouri, lavender, coffee, musty black truffle.

T - Much smokier than the smell, very much like a rauch. Burnt malts and coffee. Ashy.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering coffee bitterness.

O - Full flavoured from start to finish. Like a vegetarian version of a Schlenkerla rauch. If the Schlenkerla rauchbiers are smoked ham hock, this is barbequed eggplant (good but missing some grunt).

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Photo of JohnnyRay
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
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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Photo of ZacHart
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
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

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Photo of Brianhophead
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - The Big Smoke is deep black, sinful looking in its darkness. Head is packed, tan colored, and lasting.

S - There's definitely a smokey, peaty note to the nose. But there's a definite maltiness to the nose as well. Maltiness starts off with the chocolate mousse aroma you'd expect from a good proter. Moves into a caramel center, supporting the smoky elements. The finish is sweet and lush.

T - First sip starts off dry, but moves into a lush, rounded quality. Malts come through less chocolate than the nose would lead you to expect. Flavors give you a little more roasted malts, and not so much of the smokiness as you might expect from the nose. Finish is dry, and roasted malts give a little bit of bitterness to balance the beer's rounded center.

O - as things go, this is a pretty solid porter. It's flavorful, lush, and not tooo heavy with its roasted qualities. The only thing I find disappointing is that it's not as smoky as it could be given its name.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black color with a two-finger, tan, bubbly head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very smoky, like a campfire.

T - It was smoky and roasty with come caramel and molasses. The smoke flavors mellow as it warmed up.

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

O - This is a pretty interesting beer. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to finish this smoky brew but it mellowed and was pretty tasty.

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Photo of Duff27
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big two inch tall light tan head on a dark brown/black body. Head has some decent stayin power and splotchy lacing.

Nose is more of a cola smell than smoke. Smokiness is faint but there.

Some more cola hints. Smokey bacon aftertaste...comes out more as it warms for sure. Good drinkability.

Creamy mouthfeel with a crisper than normal (for a stout) carbonation.

Overall the smokiness was not as overpowering as I usually like. Having said that, this one was pretty tasty and drinkable. Worth a try but wouldn't seek out. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of dgilks
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark mahogany colour with a thick, foamy tan head. Decent head retention.

Nice, mild chocolate aroma with note of smoke. Slightly oxidised.

Robust, bitter roast notes with a sharp hoppy bitterness. Good.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Fine.

A solid beer with good flavour and nice mouthfeel.

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Photo of metter98
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.