Vanilla Bean Porter
Stone Brewing

Vanilla Bean PorterVanilla Bean Porter
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American Porter
3.77 | pDev: 9.02%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Vanilla Bean PorterVanilla Bean Porter
Notes: There’s nothing simple or run of the mill about this “little pod” harvested from the finicky vines of vanilla orchids found on Indian Ocean islands. The thousands of richly aromatic seeds buried inside each of these plump vanilla fruit pods became our beer-making muse for this porter recipe distinguished by chocolate malt and Madagascar vanilla bean. This latter luxe ingredient imparts a delicate creaminess and palate-seducing softness. Additionally, its presence heightens the roundness of the chocolate undertones and hints of coffee typically associated with beers of this style. Dripping in the world’s second-most expensive spice, this porter is extremely drinkable, with just the right amount of vanilla bean richness and deepness.
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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 144
Photo of elNopalero
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Looking good in the glass, coffee black capped by a cocoa colored cloud. Pleasing vanilla cola notes with a nice roast underlying it. A smooth and easy supper.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a mug, the appearance was a nice looking dark brown close to black color with a finger's worth of almond white foamy head. Trickled off at a nice pace to leave some sly lace running around the glass fairly nice.
The aroma had some sweet to roasty almonds/pecans up front and then the vanilla bean came in fairly nice to blend decently. Some dark chocolate nibs grace the underneath. And a robust coffee bean character came in even further underneath.
The flavor was mainly roasty through the prior mentioned aromas and cleanly applied the sweetness from the vanilla bean in a graceful attempt. Aftertaste was pretty roasty.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied, perhaps just a touch under with a ruggedness coming from the coffee really effecting how much I wanted to make this as a session beer. I found myself sipping this more. Carbonation felt fine, somewhat low, but that didn't bother me. ABV felt appropriate. Finish was a bit rugged through those coffee beans.
Overall, pretty good for the most part, I think I could come back to this, but not a crushable porter, I will say that.

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Photo of Pencible
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: This poured a clear black cherry with a little tan head.
S: It smelled like coffee and dark chocolate, with a little vanilla.
T: It tasted like coffee and rusty copper hops, with some dark chocolate and vanilla. It had a mild dirty aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Thin body.
D: This was an average porter at best, with basic scent and taste. The body was weak and the finish was a little rough, so it wasn't that easy to drink. Not recommended.

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Photo of NicolasBird
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks nice. It has a pretty dark brown color, not quite black though. Smells like... What? Vanilla? That's right, vanilla!! Smell is quite lacking though, it's very thin. Taste is also lacking, I get the vanilla and the sweet/roasted flavor, but nothing too big, I didn't expect much though at this abv so that's fine. Mouthfeel is average, pretty spare and water like though it is quite carbonated. I actually get kind of a bitter taste after swallowing that lingers for a little in the back of my throat, not a big fan of it. I love bitterness but it just doesn't fit with this beer. Not a great beer, not a bad one though. Won't buy it again.

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Photo of donspublic
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip, 1 finger tan colored head, recedes rather quickly, nice lacing. Dark brown in the glass, no light gets thru it. Smells of roasted malt, vanilla and hints of chocolate and coffee. Taste is bitterness out of the gate. Roasted malt, some smokiness, the vanilla is really hammered here, no presence at all, getting overwhelmed by the bitterness. Not my favorite porter, had high hopes for this one, reason I bought the sampler.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a Stone Brewing Co snifter

A: Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a frothy light brown head that settles to a firm layer and leaves plenty of nice lacing.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, chocolate, coffee, earthy, spicy, a little vanilla, and some burnt sugar.

T: Roasted malt, burnt toast, smoke, coffee, earthy, spicy, some dark fruit, with underlying vanilla, chocolate, and burnt sugar.

M: Medium body, fairly lively carbonation.

O: Sorry Stone, this one just misses the mark. Roasty and earthy bitterness overwhelms the vanilla and the higher carbonation kills the mouthfeel.

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Photo of pajeff
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vanilla in aroma - not much in taste. Otherwise a decent porter - just disappointed because it's Stone, so my expectations were high. It's a fine beer - just not a repeat.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Boy, that vanilla bean seems to really add bitterness and dryness and less vanilla flavor than I expected (and I think than I'd like). The aroma is more a standard porter with a nice heavy dark malt with some roast and chocolate. Good looking with a dark full head and a dark body. Drinks and feels about it's 5.9% size. But I'm afraid the bean doesn't add to the better for me.

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Photo of JayGatsby
4.67/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Vanilla Bean Porter 5.9% ABV Stone brewing company
2016 12 OZ bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours very dark like oil, even darker than some stouts I've had before. Nice 1/4" inch creamy vanilla colored head.

Aroma: Strong notes of sweet vanilla, a hint of roastiness and subtle chocolate.

Taste: Much like the aroma lots of vanilla except this time the roastiness comes out beautifully. Very malty and smooth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a hard bite of carbonation, a bit much for a porter but not overwhelming.

Overall: One of my favorite porters by far, i know stone likes to do these brewed only once beers but this one should be reconsidered to be brewed again.


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Photo of WickedBeer
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at Bar Louie in Northridge, CA.

Poured into a 16oz pint glass. Nice creamy tan head of foam, heavy lacing. Very dark brown, essentially black.

Smell: Bitter malt notes with a mild but smooth vanilla finish. Very reminiscent of a good cream soda.
Taste: Malty, bitter goodness. Agreeing with many other reviews, not quite getting as much of the vanilla bean in the taste as I would have liked. Nice oakiness in the finish that sticks with you.
Feel: Smooth, good carbonation but a surprising amount for a porter of this consistency. Carbonation aside, it has a mouthfeel somewhere in between a lighter stout and a traditional American porter.

Overall my favorite part of this beer was the smell. With every sip you get that cream soda-esqe aroma that really compliments the bitterness of this beer. A good one by Stone, however not my favorite of theirs.

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Photo of Beejay
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark black in color with a tan head.

S: Roasty with notes of brown sugar, caramel, and chocolate, with vanilla rounding out the finish.

T: Roasted malts with caramel, vanilla, and a hint of oak. A pretty decent amount of earthy bitterness in there.

M: Medium body, with fairly high carbonation.

O: Overall fairly tasty, good roasted malts, but the bitterness is a little intense.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: jet black, bubbly creamy head that stays on board for entire journey.
A: roasted malts
F: thin and mildly creamy. But not creamy enough.
T: malty, roasty, sweet, and creamy but not creamy enough. Can't taste vanilla and slight metallic after taste.
O: interesting and balanced but doesn't contain the vanilla taste I expected.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.56/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours dark brown black with a big fluffy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is slightly acidic roast chocolate malt and vanilla.

The flavor is ashy roast and some sweet vanilla with the harsh ashy roast lingering in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, I'm not a big vanilla fan, but the vanilla tastes a bit medicinal and I really didn't like the harsh ashy roast.

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Photo of zeff80
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a very small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Nice roasted malt taste with hints of vanilla and chocolate.

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm not usually a fan of porters, because mouthfeel is one of the most important things for me when it comes to dark beers. This one isn't too different in that regard, but the massive notes of coffee and vanilla blending perfectly with the base beer is enough to make me love this one.

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Photo of andrewh995
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Decent porter but I'm not too impressed. The vanilla is apparent but being called vanilla bean porter I would have expected more of it. Lots of coffee and chocolate notes those which are impressive.

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Photo of StoutSnob40
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Super thin. Expected for a porter under 6%. Smell is pretty mild. Generic roasted malts, and slight vanilla. Taste provides stronger vanilla presence, but it's still just very thin. Easy to drink, but I just can't love a beer with such little flavor. Maybe I drink too many thick stouts..

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Photo of matcris
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark Brown, ruby around the edges up to the light. A finger of creamy tan head that recedes slowly and leaves some mild lacing. the aroma, a sweet chocolate surrounded by big vanilla. Smells sweet overall with brown sugar notes and basically chocolate chip cookie dough. In the flavor, sweet malt and vanilla followed by a bitter bite of dark chocolate and a little coffee. Average carbonation, dry, and medium thin body....porter like. Not a huge fan of vanilla, but you may like it more. I think the vanilla is big and bold so if that's what you like you should find this pretty nice.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Trade with Marty
Undated bottle at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma – roast malt, initially strong but rapidly fades
Head – large (Maximum 5.8 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, rapidly diminishing to an irregular six to 13 mm ring and thick and rocky partial layer.
Lacing – fair. Mostly sections of the ring that drag but a few tiny islands of tiny bubbles as well
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – initially roasted malt with some chocolate tones then finishes with vanilla. There is a slightly bitter malt aftertaste with a decent hang time. No hops detected. No alcohol. No diacetyl.
Palate – almost medium, just edges from watery to slightly creamy, soft carbonation
This is a decent porter with a little vanilla to set it apart from the masses. It is very drinkable but I see no reason to seek it out any more than any other porter. This was part of a variety pack.
Appearance 3.75, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.75

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Photo of SFACRKnight
2.16/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown, cafe au lait head recedes quickly to a persistant 1/4 head.
Smells nice, vanilla, carmelized sugars, touch of chocolate.
tastes like burned plastic. I don't even get the vanilla. Just straight bitter burned plastic. Mouthfeel is medium, not creamy, not overly carbonated.
Overall. I dont know how the nose can be so inviting while the flavor is so terrible.

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Photo of gandres
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From 12 oz bottle, poured in snifter glass
black, medium brown foam that quickly disappears, lacing
fragrant, toasted nuts
low bitterness, some sweetness
long follow through, long bitter aftertaste, a lot of carbonation, boozy
very good beer, full bodied, good balance, ok to repeat, look for
drank: January 5, 2017 9:44 PM

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.32/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 5.9% abv

Appearance- Pours a very dark red/brown with a tan head slow to dissipate.

Smell- Vanilla bean, barley, ricecakes.

Taste- Grainy barley flavor, becoming a more roasted grainy flavor. Chocolate undertones as well. Later in the flavor profile, the vanilla bean taste stands out. The roasted taste in retained through the finish, turning somewhat bitter.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body with active carbonation.

Overall- A good malt flavor with evident use of vanilla. Not a bad porter. Better examples out there for sure however.

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Photo of Riff
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brown almost black color with about a finger to a finger and a half of light tan head that dissipates with some lacing. Smells of coffee and vanilla primarily, a little of chocolate. Flavor is malts, a hint of vanilla, and very dark chocolate. Little bit of a bitter aftertaste. Good, solid feel to it. Overall it's a fine porter, a little of the advertised vanilla but not much. Considering the name I'd expect the flavor to be more like a vanilla coffee flavor. Not so much.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This may not be superlative for the style, but it does not lack much either. Body is actually robust for a porter, the taste has the advertised vanilla, without being overwhelming, and it's an overall good brew.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours black with off white colored head great lacing streaming down the glass.

Aroma - Roasted Malts and chocolate the vanilla beans are present and blend well with the other main things I am picking up in the nose. There are also hints of coffee and brown sugar.

Taste - The taste is similar to the aroma maybe a little less vanilla beans. Roasted malts, vanilla and dark chocolate. There is also a very nice sweetness mixed in with the bitterness of the coffee.

Feel - medium body, well carbonated smooth and coats the mouth with a hint of bitterness.

Overall - A solid porter I wish there was a little more vanilla in the flavor but overall a good beer.

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Vanilla Bean Porter from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 144 ratings