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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: 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
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 141
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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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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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 biboergosum
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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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 oberon
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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;

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

Ooh, some smoked goodness from a new country (Kiwi-Land). Let's do this: It pours a clear deep, dark ruby-brown topped by over a finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises rich smoke (not too dark/peaty, but thick and heavy enough to really make an impression), light roasted malts, mild cocoa, walnut, and a few drops of maple syrup. The taste is mostly a lithe blend of smoke, chocolate, light roast, and maple syrup. Good times, indeed. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a moderate carbonation and a dry, slightly prickly feel. Overall, were this not a touch light and overcarbonated, it would be a downright great smoked porter. As it stands, it is very, very good, and I would never turn another down.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%

From 09/07/14 notes at The Jeffrey in NYC.

Triednext to a sample of Barrier's Undertow Rauchbier and found it less smokey and with less sweet chocolate. More chalk. Decent but not my favorite.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Surly pint glass.

A - Three-plus fingers of light tan foam erupt as the beer is poured, slowly settles to a thick cap, leaving behind a few specks of lacework. Body is a dark, transparent, cherry-wood brown color.

S - Smoked malt! A bit of dry-roasted nuts, char, and some mild dark fruit sweetness, but otherwise this is heavy on the campfire, smoked meat, and perhaps a touch of peat.

T - Taste is also pretty smokey, but with a milk chocolate finish - reminds me of those omnipresent foil-wrapped Easter egg chocolates. Aftertaste is mostly char and roast bitterness, but this somehow manages to avoid being overly burnt and astringent.

M - Somewhat over-carbonated, with harsh, prickly bubbles that burn the upper palate. Sticky, slightly gritty, medium body that leaves a mouth-coating smokey sensation. The texture is appropriate for the style, but the carbonation needs to be dialed down a bit.

D - The 500ml bottle would probably be better shared by two people, due to the intensity of the smoked flavors, but the lower alcohol made this fairly easy to finish. An enjoyable smoked porter - worked my way through the bottle while listening to Stravinsky's Firebird (1919 version).

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Photo of smakawhat
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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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 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 lacqueredmouse
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers for the Xmas present from @laituegonflable.

Pours a deep, black colour, with a filmy head of beige coloured foam. Lacing is firm, but sudsy, loose in placed. Body is very opaque, but the edges are lightened a little, giving some brighter emphasis of garnet brown. The highlights look bright, like a gemstone. Looks very decent.

Nose is very roasty and dark, but only with hints of smoke. But contrary to this being a bad thing, it gives it a big and strong character like an American Impy Stout. Very robust and very tasty, with chocolate sweetness mixing with the bitter roasted character laced with smoke. It's genuinely lovely.

Taste is smoother, but still relies upon its heavy roasted character, and only giving a nod to the smoke. Smooth entry with some sweetness on the fore that gets rushed offstage in favour of the roasted and slightly astringent bitter character. Smoke is always in the wings, mingling with, but not dominating the other characters. Light finish means most of the smoothness drops out, leaving the bitter roasted note.

Feel is a little weak and thin, but this, if nothing else, exemplifies that it's a porter rather than a stout.

A very nice beer, and another good brew from 8 Wired. Very smooth, but with oodles of flavour. Great drop.

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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 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 LiquidAmber
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours very dark mahogany, nearly black and opaque, with a nice two finger light brown head with great retention and lots of thick lacing. Aroma of pleasant woodland smoke, dark toasted malt, molasses, hints of dark stone fruit. Flavor is dark toasted malt, nuts, mild dark stone fruit, chocolate and coffee. Finishes a bit lighter with residual coffee and smoke. Medium bodied with a nice creaminess and carbonation. A nice well balanced smoked porter with a flavorful base beer and a deft hand with the smoke that is well supported by the malts. Interesting light chocolate and fruit flavors in the background. The finish is a little bit thin after the richness of the initial taste, but that seems to be that this is already very full flavored at this ABV. I liked this a lot. Glad to see 8 Wired beer arriving in our market.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip 12/6/12

A very dark brown with a deep cola edge, a large three finger mocha head looks a little airy and quickly falls to a thin film that leaves just a few random patches of lace

S coco powder and milk chocolate mix well with the mellow smoke, much too my surprise I can pick up on some hops through all the dark malt, just a little cold coffee in there too

T mimics the smell quite well with just a little nutty dark toffee, not over the top smoke and some pipe tobacco plays a small part, not very intense but mellow can work well at times

M light bodied for the color but far from thin, fluffy from the bubbles and a nice charred wood aftertaste that lingers for a while with a little coco powder

O not over the top smoke but it allows the chocolate notes and a little hops to shine through, very drinkable stuff as my half liter bottle was gone in no time

another solid offering from a "new to me" brewery, pricy here in Alberta but I just might buy one to tuck away for a while and see what happens

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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 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 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 avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, opaque texture. There was an inch of off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: The smokiness is evident the second you open the bottle, but oddly, not much after that. Has notes of chocolate, coffee and malt. A nice aroma.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, and a bit of chocolate. More like a porter than a smoked beer. The smoky quality wasn't particularly evident, but it still had a nice flavor.

A: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An extremely drinkable beer.

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