Smoked Porter | Founders Brewing Company

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Smoked PorterSmoked Porter

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A robust porter brewed with beechwood-smoked barley, oak-smoked wheat and chocolate malt.

Added by SerialTicker on 02-02-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 348
Photo of JasonHaviland
2.93/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Tasted at a tap takeover in Boston in a tulip glass. Slightly disappointed. I have such high expectations from Founders that when they disappoint, it's surprising. Too strong on the nose and a bitter mouth-feel. Really hot and unbalanced taste and way too much smoke, which ended up coming off much too astringent and band-aid like. The finish was nice, but just too much going on that wasn't well integrated in the glass -- even knowing this was supposed to be a heavy smoked porter. Maybe it softens a little with age??

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Photo of n2185
3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: pours black with half a finger of tan head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: roasted and smoked malts dominate with sweet cocoa and smokey, bacon-like aromas.

T: roasted and smoked malts here as well with burnt char and bitter cocoa. The finish is lightly bitter.

M: medium body and carbonation, this beer is nice feeling at first but finishes a little watery.

O: a pretty solid beer overall. Could use a little better body and some more depth of flavor.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml, winter 2014
The Bruery tulip

A: Really deep brown. Light tan head that is basically just a collar. Some lacing bits.

S: Very smokey. Bacon. Campfire. Get some vanilla.

T: Thinner than I was expecting. Not as aggressive on the smoke as the nose would make you think.

M: Big medium. Thinner than I expected

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark brown/black color. huge foamy head, about 2 or so fingers of a tan head that fades at a decent rate to nothing. opaque even when held up to the light

Smell: smoked meat and char. dry chocolate and roasted malts come through underneath. good balance between smokey and a dry robust porter

Taste: opens up with chocolatey sweetness that quickly fades due to the smokey wheat and smokey meat characteristics. great balance between dry smoke and sweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel: a bit of sweetness quickly fades to a lingering dryness. fairly light and wheaty. some bitterness from the smoke.

Overall: I know this one isn't quite as exciting as the other backstage series but it is a well made a good beer. great balance and not over powering smoke.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from IAmJacksHopTongue (thanks for picking this up for me!). Bottled 02/2014. Served in a Founders snifter.

Pours a deep cola brown, lighter at the edges with three fluffy fingers of tan head. Cap lingers and leaves large sheets of clumpy lace.

Smells meaty and roasty with plenty of smoked malt followed by cocoa and caramel.

Flavor is pretty straight forward with no surprises. Chocolate, char, smoke, burnt marshmallow, meaty, caramel, sugary wheat sweetness and some vague dark fruit. It's a nice blend with almost none of the 8% abv showing.

Creamy, medium body with carbonation that feels moderately sharp without seeming like too much. Smoked malt, milk chocolate and mildly bitter char finish.

One of the best smoked beers I've had. That great creamy texture and the chocolatey malts play nicely with the smokey, meaty beachwood. Well done Founders.

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Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -1.7%

A: Dark as normal Founders Porter

S: Very smokey and dark

T: Smokiness is pretty well done, I could still taste the base Porter in the background.

M: Nice and full

O: This was definitely a good porter to drink BUT I have high expectations when coming from Founders. I would drink this again if I could find it but I wouldn't sell my first born for it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If any brewery knows porter, its Founders Brewing Company. Their flagship dark ale is among the best on the market with its drier chocolate taste, toasted sweetness and hoppy finish to make it a real standout. Now, that mindset goes into their Backstage Series with a boost of strength and complexity of smoke to weave into the mix.

The unmistakable aroma of smoky chocolate wafts over the nose and early palate, carrying with it nuances of coffee, charred toast and singed toffee. Its sweeter upstart gives rise to the beer's creamy and dessert-like flavor.

Yet, the beer develops a deeply earthen taste across the middle. Its sweetness recedes and the toasty, coffee and chicory taste of porter rises- pushing up against stout roast at times. Roasted walnut, peppercorn and campfire continues to rise while the chocolate turns to cocoa.

Its finish is malty-dry and reliant on heavy roast and ash for a lightly powdery closure in taste. Peppery warmth and its grilled taste is both spicy and savory simultaneously. Its leaves the palate with the strong aftertaste of mesquite, much more so than the palate was expecting.

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Photo of Jeffo
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hotpipes for this one.

From a 750 into a snifter
Beechwood smoked malt and oak-smoked wheat malt

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a 2+ finger, creamy, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Clear bistre brown body with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a nice foam cap and clings to the sides of the glass. Thick ring remains with falling dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking porter.

SMELL: Some smoked malts, dark chocolate, light roasted flavors, leather notes and touches of toffee. Balanced smoked malts are rather nice here.

TASTE: Roasted notes, dark chocolate, with some well measured smoked malts up front. More roasted flavors through the middle into a big and lingering finish of roasted malts, smoked malts, bitter dark chocolate, sweet toffee and some slightly burnt notes as well. Chocolate and roasted flavors go well with some well balanced smoked malts. Nice bitterness as well. Good stuff. Really enjoyed this.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, enough weight, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Fuller side of medium. Good feel.

OVERALL: This is rather roasted for a porter, but I'm not complaining. Maybe roasted barley is in there, though perhaps some black malts are doing the trick. Either way, this is really well balanced, with the smoked malts adding instead of dominating, and the roasted flavors providing a solid base. Very nice look and feel for the style as well. Well worth checking out if you get the chance. Cheers hotpipes! Always a pleasure.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with some tan head and minor lace that dies quick. Aroma is mostly smoked and roasted malts, not quite meaty type smokiness but strong and there are some subtle notes of coffee, dark fruit and bitter chocolate. Beer is heavy but smooth and retains its dry, smoky edge throughout. Balance and additional flavors are brought in from some coffee, chocolate and boozy taste sensations. This sweetness seems to hit on backend as the beer finishes dry and sweet at same time.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Novare

A: Pours a pitch black color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to almost nothing. Leaves some pretty decent lacing, regardless

S: Roasted malts with a bit of light smoke, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. A lot like the regular porter with a nice bit of smoke

T: Again, roasted malts with a bit of salty smokiness up front, followed by a nice bit of lightly sweet chocolate and some coffee. Finishes with a bit of the smoke and some bitterness

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nice twist on the regular porter. The smoke doesn't overwhelm the base, and adds a nice bit of complexity. Quite drinkable for being 8%, and doesn't get overly cloying like some smoke or rauchbiers. Glad I got to try it

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Smoked Porter

Enjoyed on tap at the Sugar Maple. Served in a snifter...

A) Dark brown to black... Nice thick tan head. Nice retention... Looks rich and filling.

S) Campfire, applewood, coffee, hint of chocolate, mild sweetness. A bit earthy... Mainly a meaty smokiness... I don't go for many smoked beers. I enjoyed the aroma here.

T) Follows the nose... Again haven't had many smoked beers, and the ones I've had didn't do much for me. I think the difference here is likely that Founders really knows how to brew stouts and porters. They just make some tasty darker beers. The smoke really works for me here.

M) Rich and creamy... Full bodied, with moderate carbonation. Went down nicely with a smokey ashy finish.

O) Enjoyed this Backstage release... Glad I had the opportunity to give it a try. Seems like a good smoked beer to give folks that haven't explored the style much. Solid brew... Glad to recommend...

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Photo of mothman
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a tan head. Color is a dark caramel hued brown nearing black.

Flavor profile: A lot of caramel and vanilla. Sweet. Chocolate and cocoa. A nice roasted malt profile with some coffee notes. A touch of bacon, but the roast isn't overdone here.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smoked, and creamy. Medium to full bodied.

Overall, a solid beer. Nothing insane, but very drinkable and well done. I could easily have a few glasses of this without being overwhelmed by the smoke.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Lunar Brewing Co - Villa Park, IL
L - dark brown/near black body, light brown head holds good retention
S - smoked malt, dark malt, chocolate
T - smoked malt, charred wood, chocolate, caramel, dark fruit as it warms, earthy, herbal hop
F - medium body, finishes crisp and semi-dry with some smoke lingering
O - straight forward smoked porter. If you like smoked beers, this is a good one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 4/7/2014 at Doherty’s Ale House, in Warwick, RI served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains black coffee, smoked roasted malts, chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out smoky with a hearty roasted malt character up front. Then some mildly sweet flavors of coffee and chocolate come in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid smoky dark beer to drink for a long time.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station as part of a mini Founders tap takeover to kickoff American Craft Beer Week. Poured into a small Belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours a deep brown, bordering on black with not much light penetrating to show any lighter hues on the edges of the glass. Atop the body sits a one finger ecru head with a sudsy consistency. Retention is not for long, with the head fading to an uneven ringlet with a clustering of soapy bubbles on one side of the glass. No lacing really to speak of, and no film hinting at the departed foam.

Smell - Smoke is definitely the predominant characteristic, evoking the notes of hickory and applewood, but it's far from overpowering. Pleasant and gentle, like a room long after you finished frying up some bacon. And I think the chocolate malts lend just a touch of sweetness to balance out the overall aroma profile. The smoke is present enough that it has me nervous about whether it will just smother my tastebuds once I take a sip.

Taste - Enjoyably, the smoke is not suffocating at all. It's rich and smoky, with notes of wood-fired oven and smoldering campfire, and perhaps a subtle hint of candied bacon. The chocolate malt also comes through with some notes of bitter char and rich but subtle sweetness to prevent the smoke from getting carried away.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full bodied with moderate carbonation and a subtly smoky-sweet finish.

Overall, I'm a bit hit-or-miss on smoked beers and rauchbiers. It's really easy to let the smoke overpower the rest of the beer, even thought porters seem to lend themselves better than many styles. However, I'm really impressed by the subtle balance of smoke, dark chocolate and roasted malts. When Founders announced a smoked porter as their most recent Backstage beer, it was a bit ho-hum after seeing wild styles like barrel-aged IIPA, mango-habanero ale and maple barrel-aged wheatwine. That said, their execution on this beer is spot on. A really great representative of the style.

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Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque onyx with modest tan head that dissipates into a ring of foam.

Aroma is slightly smoky, with chocolate dominating. Roasty malt is almost tertiary.

Flavor reveals more roast malt dominance, which is accented nicely by smoke. Here, chocolate takes the backseat. Deeply toasted malt adds complexity.

Body is fairly full and smooth, with low carbonation. Alcohol warmth is somewhat subtle, considering the abv.

Nice balance, great base beer, accented nicely by smoke.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ML bottle
Served in a snifter

It pours black in color. No light is getting through this beer. It is topped with three inches of mocha head the laces the glass.

I immediately pick up on the smoked grain and the chocolate aroma.

It starts out with the sweetness of the chocolate malt. Then I get some bitterness and almost acrid smoke flavors with some lingering bitterness in the finish.

Creamy, full mouthfeel. It feels like a stout.

Once I paired the second half of the bottle with my barbecue, it was a magical thing. It goes well with slow cooked meat.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one finger tan head. The head receds quickly leaving some light soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is smoked malts, dark chocolate, toffee and black coffee.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Dark chocolate, toffee, black coffee and dark fruits upfront followed tons of smoked malts. The finish has a nice lingering char.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - A nice smoked Porter. The balance of the char and chocolaty sweetness is deftly balanced. Highly recommended to fans of smoked beers.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from trade. Pours pitch black with a tall brown and creamy head on top. Lots of char and smoke as expected, lots of wood, roast, more smoke. Flavor is mostly smoke and wood, tastes like a campfire, a bit of roasted grains, and more charred wood. Just a bit of sweet dark fruits behind it. No question what they were going for here. Mouthfeel is thinner than the look, and seems right about on for a porter. Good beer, hit what they were going for, but not quite up to the experimental mode they've done with this series. Very solid beer either way.

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Photo of Flopjack
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Black, slightly over 1 finger mocha head. Nice thick lacing.

Smell - Smoke, wood char, hint of coffee grounds, smoked meat.

Taste - Smokey from the start. The for just a bit you get a malt roastiness, subtle coffee and spent coffee grounds, then the rest of the smokiness really develops. A few different characteristics, wood, char, smoked pork, all blanketing a very subtle grain flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, medium carbonation and smooth.

Overall - Good beer. Intense robust smokiness that almost makes you feel like your eating a meal. Bought 2, I will save one for a friend.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with a tan, quickly fading head. The aroma of meaty smoked malts and mocha coffee are the most pronounced.

In the taste, more bacon or campfire like elements from the roasted malt. On the back swig is some hearty chocolate malt. Nice piney hop flavor and moderate bitterness to go with the smoke. Smooth malty flavor, finishes smokey like a good scotch.

Medium to full bodied ale with a very smooth feel. Overall, this is a great smoked porter, the beechwood smoked malts and distinct and flavorful.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 1/2014. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light streaming carbonation. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, dark bread, wood smoke, light coffee, light char, herbal, light pepper, and roast/smoke earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/smoked malt and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, dark bread, toast, wood smoke, light coffee, light char, herbal, light pepper, and roast/smoke earthiness. Light spicy hop and roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roast, toast, dark bread, wood smoke, light coffee, herbal, light pepper, and roast/smoke earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted/smoked malt and moderate earthy hop flavors; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, creamy, and fairly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent smoked porter style. All around great balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roasted/smoked malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A- Dark black only some light come through on the tip when you tilt the glass. Light brown head.
S- Medium smoke notes, dark bitter roasts, coffee, chocolate, some char.

T- Not as smokey as the aroma, could use more smoke. The smoke doesn't last long and you're left with what is essential Founders regular porter flavors. Some char, coffee and dark chocolate.

M- Full mouthfeel similar to regular porter.

O- I've only had a few smoked beers and like with a pepper beer it is always how heavy or light the smoke is that really determines how good the beer is. For my tastes this beer just doesn't have enough smoke to it but it is still Founders porter which is a great beer. The only other smoked porter I've had was Yazoo Sue which had about the right level of smoke to it but Founders porter is a better beer than the porter used in Sue so I give this a slightly higher mark.

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Photo of CasanovaCummins
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nose gives you a smoky smell reminiscent of an Islay Scotch. More of a Bowmore than a Lagavulin. And definitely more campfire than seaside fire. Not salty, nor overly burnt. And the porter is a thick mass of solid chocolate backbone.

The mouth feel is thicker than most Porters, a good choice for the smokiness to rest on. You get the full smoke on the back of the tongue and on the back of the throat. Let this warm or the smoke is too strong. Once the temperature hits almost room temp, then this really shines. There is definitely a temp zone where this works, and if too chilled, this doesn't quite come together.

I'd say if you like Scotches, give this go. The porter is a solid canvas for the smoke to play on. And a sipper, not a chugger. This takes time to tease out all the flavor components.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this on tap at Shady McGrady's, served chilled in a snifter.

The color is onyx, completely opaque with thick tan band of cream with fine bead, lace clings well. The smell is sweet cocoa with a mild fruity yeast ester similar to dark plum with dark roast coffee and a subtle toasted/smoked malt aroma with subtle hop spiciness. The feel is excellent with creamy texture and mild sweetness that builds as it warms with moderate carbonation and medium body with light smoked element adding to the semi-dry quality in the finish.
The taste is very good, rich with malt and slightly caramel accented with a yeast flavor that provides a light fruitiness and there is moderate roast and mild bitterness in the flavor from the hops and/or malt with a smoky accent wrapping it up with peppery hop flavor adding complexity. Overall I really enjoyed this and would consider this a more subtle take on the smoked porter style but it is delicious and I would not hesitate to have it again.

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Smoked Porter from Founders Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 348 ratings.
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