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The Big Smoke - 8 Wired Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The Big SmokeThe Big Smoke

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

126 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 126
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 7
Gots: 5 | 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:
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

(Beer added by: ADZA on 11-26-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wisrarebeer


3.63/5  rDev -5.7%

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

10-20-2011 01:59:05 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of July2Nov


3.55/5  rDev -7.8%

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.

10-18-2011 04:59:28 | More by July2Nov
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +3.4%

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).

10-18-2011 04:28:02 | More by MasterSki
Photo of dansmcd


3.68/5  rDev -4.4%

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).

09-18-2011 10:36:42 | More by dansmcd
Photo of Macca


3.58/5  rDev -7%

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.

08-18-2011 12:29:58 | More by Macca
Photo of flexabull


4.18/5  rDev +8.6%

Was pleased to see this beer at Olive Tree Market in San Diego.

Pours a dark brown color with a very faint head.

Aromas are very nice, sweet malts, chocolate, charred wood, campfire, and some peat.

Taste is malty up front, light chocolate, and some bitterness, than the smoke kicks in. Slightly meaty, with some peat, campfire, and light bitterness on the finish. This is a nicely balanced smoke beer.

Mouthfeel is good, pretty smooth, with decent body.

Overall, I like this beer a lot. It's smoky, but well balanced, definitely worth trying.

08-12-2011 03:34:28 | More by flexabull
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +6%

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;

07-11-2011 00:44:48 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of ZacHart

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

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

07-07-2011 02:09:19 | More by ZacHart
Photo of laituegonflable


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours a dark brown, plenty of colour with decent beige head that dissipates after a while. Lace is nice, thin but sticky.

Smells nice; roasty and spicy with a touch of smoke. Lots of aniseed to it with some tobacco, mint and cherry. Nice sweetness underlying an otherwise pleasant, spicy, smokey aroma.

Taste is quite intense at first, massive roasty flavour with espresso bitterness. Lots of dark smokey flavours come through midway with a touch of peat and carob that mellows it out nicely towards the back but doesn't escape the really intense bitterness. Some more smoke would be helpful, to raise the palate to that pleasant complex and contrasting spicy character that was so effective on the nose. This is mostly just strong bitter flavours, roasted and quite burnt.

Nice and full, the body covers the slight carbonated fizz on the feel.

Yeah, decent complexity and nice porter notes, would just like a stronger smoke flavour to create more contrast in the palate. Otherwise very nice.

07-06-2011 05:10:18 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of armock

New York

4.83/5  rDev +25.5%

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - The dominating scent is from the smoked malt but theres enough roasted malt to keep it a porter

T - Love at first sip the roasted malt is upfront for a second then the smoked malt kicks its ass and tastes wonderful

M - This beer has a fuller body with lighter carbonation to it

O - If you couldn't tell this is a very enjoyable beer for me the smoke is nice and present in the flavor the body is damn near perfect I'm not calling it a session beer but its one that I could drink all night if you like smoked beers you'll love this one worth getting if you see it around

06-24-2011 02:36:15 | More by armock
Photo of joecast


4.93/5  rDev +28.1%

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.

06-11-2011 10:33:14 | More by joecast
Photo of crnipeter


4.35/5  rDev +13%

Very dark brown, seemingly opaque body topped by thick, creamy tan head with excellent retention that clings to the walls and finaly sets to a 1/3 inch thick, stable cover.
Aroma is marriage of moderate plum and prune-like frutiness, non-roasted malt with sweet, brown suggar character, malt with mild chocolate-like roastiness, herbal-spicy hops and woodsy smokines so delicate it is hard to pick up.
Malt with caramel, bitter-chocolate and liquorice flavors is quickly followed by spiciy-herbal hops leading into the dry finish with lingering hoppy-bitter and roasted aftertaste. Likewise the aroma, balance between the base style and smokines is leaned towards the former and there is just a touch of wisely judged amount of smoked malts. Medium bodied and lightly creamy with moderate, tickling carbonation.
In short, a smoked porter with lots of finesse and superb balance between the malts, hops and roast-derived flavors, with light smokey touch lacking any harsh, burnt or greasy notes. (500 ml, into tulip.)

06-07-2011 11:59:09 | More by crnipeter
Photo of Mebuzzard


3.43/5  rDev -10.9%

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.

06-06-2011 06:05:25 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of TheDudeRules


1.63/5  rDev -57.7%

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.

06-03-2011 17:11:21 | More by TheDudeRules
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

05-19-2011 22:44:06 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of wagenvolks


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

500ml bottle into a Jester King snifter. Best before 9/23/11.

A very porter-like pour...imagine that! Wispy tuft of khaki foam quickly recedes to a ring of bubbles. Beneath, the cola-colored body shows ruby and mahogany hues at its edges. Excellent aromas of sharp wood phenols and smoky ash--doesn't overwhelm the nose with the smoke, but instead keeps things in check with some earthy hops and dark roasted malt. Things get a little Band-Aid-like as The Big Smoke warms, but that's a minor nitpick.

Roasted dark malt graininess hits the palate with a sharp, almost metallic twang. Earthy and robust, this porter is. The smoke is a nice touch, adding charred wood and nuttiness to the finish with some bitter hop notes. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly with a medium-light body. Solidly-built. Overall, a tasty smoked porter that I'd gladly have again.

05-11-2011 02:25:39 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Bung


4.13/5  rDev +7.3%

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.

04-17-2011 03:12:48 | More by Bung
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +6.5%

I tried to find a beer "worthy" being my 250th beer reviewed on Beer Advocate. I solicited friends and shopped different stores. I got a lot of good advice and almost decided to review Kaliber or O'Doul's here, but instead I'm just putting up the next thing I drank and took notes on. It is a bonus that it's my first New Zealand beer though.

This beer is really dark, but there is some transparency around the edges that leads me to believe this beer is going to be a bit thin in the mouthfeel. The head starts off with barely a quarter of an inch and almost completely disappears, leaving behind the faintest of film on top. Not an impressive start.

The smell makes up for it. Roast + smoke = bacon. LOL, another bacon beer...yay! Well, only at first until you get serious and get down to the business of disseminating the different elements that make it smell like bacon. The roasted malts make for a dark bread sense, but not pumpernickel. There's a floral tone in there that I have to assume is from the hops. Both of these lie under a dominant top coat of smoke.

Like the smell, the smoke overwhelms at first and even after the rest of the elements come through it remains the main player. After a few sips the dark bread of the roast comes out and gets more of a role, almost approaching a balance. If you don't like this at first sip, try, try again. It improves as you drink it and your tongue starts to pick out the malts and the floral hops. Your nose is now telling your tongue, "See? I told you!" Still, the nose enjoyed it more as the balance was better there.

I was dead wrong on the beer appearing thin. This is silky smooth with a medium body. You're also going to experience a twinge of bitterness at the back corners of your mouth.

This is really smooth, but takes a few pulls to get used to. BY the end of it you are disappointed that is gone though. This beer gives me cause to try some more of the brews from the Kiwis. If it keeps up like this we'll start to see more of their stuff on the shelves.

03-30-2011 00:53:09 | More by Naugros
Photo of Josephkeene


4.78/5  rDev +24.2%

poured from a bottle, a 1inch chocolate colored head with radiant chocolate with a hint of smoke.

taste is heavy chocolate with great smoked after tatse. A little carbonation but smooth and heavily drinkable.

great beer. Hands down. Brand new to my local store but well worth ever penny.

03-18-2011 02:16:59 | More by Josephkeene
Photo of GRG1313


4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

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.

03-05-2011 07:21:54 | More by GRG1313
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

02-22-2011 13:04:53 | More by avalon07
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +7.3%

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.

02-20-2011 03:03:55 | More by oberon
Photo of brendan13


4/5  rDev +3.9%

A - Pours an opaque very dark brown with a 2cm dense creamy beige head that slowly falls away. Bit of lace left down the glass.
S - Smokey notes up front with some chocolate & coffee roastiness.
T - Very nice balance of smokeiness and yummy chocolate and coffee roasted malt character. Some very vague floral & fruit hints.
M - Medium to full bodied, carbonation on the lower side medium, noticeable but low bitterness.
D - Another top beer from 8 Wired. Very tasty beer that isn't over the top.

02-18-2011 12:29:51 | More by brendan13
Photo of dgilks


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%

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.

02-14-2011 07:15:35 | More by dgilks
Photo of lacqueredmouse


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

01-05-2011 06:17:08 | More by lacqueredmouse
The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.