Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean
Stone Brewing

Smoked Porter - Vanilla BeanSmoked Porter - Vanilla Bean
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Smoke Porter
3.91 | pDev: 12.28%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Smoked Porter - Vanilla BeanSmoked Porter - Vanilla Bean
Notes: In 2006, almost exactly 10 years after we first released Stone Smoked Porter, Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich had a brilliant idea: What if she added whole Madagascar vanilla beans to a small batch of the finished beer? And voilà, Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean was born! It was an instant hit, as the resulting flavor combinations—rich vanilla melding with the malty, chocolaty, coffee-like characteristics of the beer—were practically made for each other. Originally available only as an occasional growler fill or on tap all-too-briefly at special events or in our restaurant, this exquisite creation was released in a single bottle run for the first time in 2012, much to the delight of its many fans…who instantly began clamoring for more.
Reviews: 540 | Ratings: 2,361 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by rrryanc:
Photo of rrryanc
5/5  rDev +27.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of philbe311
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - A standard pour yields just shy of three fingers worth of billowing slightly late to develop rich creamy light khaki colored frothy goodness... Rock star retention... The frothy goodness turns even creamier as it settles a bit, but it never disappears or approaches anything close to lacing... A light to moderate bit of spry carbonation streaks can be seen around the top of the glass... The color is a highly murky slightly brooding medium brown... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass... This is a very nice looking brew...

S - The nose is equal part vanilla bean ice cream and lightly roasted malty goodness... The two aroma ebb and flow and compliment one another very nicely... The next layer reveals hints of sweet milk chocolate and a faint whiff of freshly brewed coffee... Very pleasing...

T - Tastes a lot like I remember the base Stone Smoked Porter tasting... The vanilla bean addition is largely missing in action... This isn't a bad thing as the base beer is one of my favorites, but it's a wee bit disappointing... Roasted malt and light smoke dominate the flavor profile... I would be very curious to do a side by side comparison with the base beer to see how they actually differ...

M - Medium bodied... Lush and creamy to start before turning a bit drier with a chalky finish... Limited carbonation... Fairly smooth... Even and consistent...

D - Another outstanding offering from Stone... The appearance is world class... The aroma is excellent... The taste is outstanding but lacking in terms of the vanilla bean addition... The mouthfeel is slightly above average... An excellent beer, but the absence of vanilla on the palate is a shame... I would drink again and would love to do the side by side tasting with the other Stone Smoked Porter offerings...

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Photo of Trooper92292
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I popped this open on a cold winter night. The Vanilla taste and aroma is there but it isn't overwhelming, well balanced. Beautiful color in a glass. A very great porter. Next time I'm at my local craft beer stop I'll be picking a bottles of this. Perfect for this time of year. Stone has yet again made another fantastic beer.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a nonic. Cola-like in appearance, dark brown with two frothy milk shake fingers of mocha colored head. Aroma is that of a classic robust porter. Not pungently smoky or reeking of vanilla extract. Rather, a clean crisp coffee and dark baker's chocolate base with a whiff of ash and a developing sweet dulce de leche note, more caramel than vanilla per se. The aroma develops nicely as the beer warms, at which point some hazelnut and ladyfinger notes emerge.

Palate is perhaps less resplendent than the nose but certainly noteworthy in its own right. The smoke is more salient here but still mellow. More bitter, ashy, and earthy flavors ... Cacao power, wood char, burnt almonds. A chocolate-covered raisin sweetness does emerge over time. The vanilla is subtle and adds a floral character. I appreciate the effort to preserve a porter base instead of just wailing away with the bells and whistles. Moderate thick body with carbonation on the low end. Quite smooth and creamy. Finish is dry with some woody ashtray and burnt marshmallow and coconut vapor trails.

Stone's true strength is in their hoppy offerings but this is well worth your time. The aroma is more complex than the taste. I am not a fan of rankly potent vanilla extract in beers and this skillfully avoids that issue, using actual beans to season rather than dominate. The emphasis is firmly on the dark malt flavors.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear light black color porter with a large light brown foamy head. Aroma of light chocolate notes with light smoky note notes with some vanilla undertones are pleasant. Taste is a mix between chocolate malt notes offset by some vanilla with discreet smoky flavors. Body is thinner then I was hoping for with good carbonation. Well brewed and easy to drinking but lacks some depth and body to be truly great.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone's usual brash demeanor takes a more delicate stride with the vanilla coat that adorns their ever popular Smoked Porter.

The beer pours like many other porters; with a dark brown color and delicate creme that gives the dark ale a very espresso-like appearance. Capped by the dainty off white foam that's fueled by carbonation, the beer trails with subdued islands of lace.

But a visit to the nose brings something different- the coffee and chocolate notes that are familiar to porters are complemented by the unmistakable and savory veil of vanilla and campfire. Where the mild smoky notes bring about a spice complexity, the vanilla soothes the senses and evokes a calming response to the nose.

The love affair that the smoky coffee flavor and vanilla companionship provide a masculine and feminine taste that plays out on the semisweet malt base of slightly scorched molasses, light taste of malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates. Toast, walnut oils, and coconut play out underneath the firm malt underpinnings and the decoration of smoke and cream.

Mild to texture, somehow the palate expects more fullness, richness, and viscocity. But the low-lying carbonation allows the ale to rest weightedly on the palate for full appreciation of flavor for a semi cask-like effect. A patient transition across the middle palate lands at the finish with a light mouthfeel of silk and mint-like alcohol warmth.

Although the vanilla provides a soothing effect to the otherwise masculine porter, the mouthfeel keeps me yearning for an imperial version of this beer. But its effortless palate and high rate of drinkability more than make up for it.

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Photo of SoCalBeerBabe
1/5  rDev -74.4%

At first sip gave it away. Bleh. I don't know who can drink this. I thought it sounded interesting, but it was totally unappealing.

134 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.07/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On cask for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a tan head that settles to an oily film. No lacing on this one. Smell is of smoked malt, nutty aromas, and slight vanilla bean. Taste is of smoked malt and smoked meat with a very subtle vanilla note on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation and is somewhat flat. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that I was expecting much more from. The vanilla beans are very hard to locate in both the aroma and flavor of this beer.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Stone's Smoke Porter- Vanilla Bean last week for $8.49 at The Lager Mill. I've had the regular and the chocolate orange version, but I've never had this one before and I'm interested to see how it stacks up, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a teku.

A- The bottle looks pretty typical for Stone, it has some nice info on it, but it isn't too eye catching. It poured a nice very dark brown almost black color that took on a crimson hue when held to the light with almost two fingers worth of creamy and slightly bubbly dark tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice sticky and patchy lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but i don't remember the other versions having that crimson color to them.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with a nice smokey aroma being the first to show up and it imparts a bonfire smoke like aroma that is quickly followed by the vanilla which shows up nice and it seems to add a little more sweetness to the aroma. Up next comes the malts which impart a roasted malt, sweet malt, chocolate, light coffee and some grainy malt aromas. This beer had a pretty nice aroma, the vanilla was noticeable, but I think it could have shown up just a little more.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the smoke still being the first to show up and it still retains that nice bonfire smoke aspect. Up next comes the malts which are just slightly lighter than they were in the aroma, but they still impart the same roasted malt aspects with no single aspect sticking out the most. Towards the end comes the vanilla which shows just a little more than it did in the aroma and it lingers into the aftertaste with just a light amount of bitterness with some smoke and light roasted malts showing up also in the aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer and it seemed to have nice balance.

M- Smooth, crisp, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and I thought it was a nice example of the style, it had all the aspects from the original Smoked Porter, and while the vanilla wasn't the strongest flavor it did help make this beer a little more complex and it ended up being pretty balanced. This beer had nice drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, not too filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think one glass is the perfect amount for me, but I don't think it would be a chore for me to drink the whole bottle. What I like the most about this beer was the complexity, the vanilla added another layer to this beer which makes it not as one dimensional as the original version. What I liked the least about this beer was that vanilla wasn't a little stronger, i think the base beer could hold up a stronger vanilla aspect. I would buy this beer again when In the mood for the style and I would recommend it to anyone who likes smoked beers, I don't think the vanilla covers up any of the smokey aspects. All in all I liked this beer, I'm still not a huge fan of Stone's Smoked Porter, but I thought the addition of vanilla beans worked well with this beer and it didn't take anything away from it, it just added to it a little. It's not a favorite Stone beer, but it is my favorite beer from their Smoked Porter series and it falls at above average for the style. Nice job guys this was a nice take on the Smoked Porter, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bomber poured into tulip 12/2/15

A clear cola liquid that has a maroon glow when held to the light, long lasting big head leaves lots of random lace deep down the glass

S lots of smoke and wet ash, a little coco and vanilla but mostly ashy, burnt wood, good but lacking complexity

T just a hint of burnt coffee to go along with what I smell, not a whole lot of dark malt or vanilla shining through the smoke

M medium bodied, just stays on the creamy side of foam, long lingering smokey finish

O straight forward but decent, I was expecting more vanilla but there's no shortage of smoke

not exactly what I was expecting but worth a try if you like smoke, not the best Stone has to offer but respectable nonetheless

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Photo of csfcmitchell
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of seedyone
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

02/05/14 On tap. Well placed as a porter. Smoke is way back as is the vanilla...but there is much to like in this glass. It could be...smokier...sweeter...warmer...more vanilla-y...more a lot of things. Any of which would mess with what it wants to be. I get it & I like it.

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Photo of vrbulldog22
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of MisterKilderkin
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Zimm
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JVStabile64
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Shawn0fTh3Dead
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of johnball216
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of grover37
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jrallen34
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Whole foods until a tulip...A dark brown pour, light tan head, ok retention and lacing...The aroma is all sweet vanilla bean, its very strong true to vanilla and not generic like most vanillas. There also is some complexity brought on the finish by some roastiness...The starts out all vanilla as well and at first its almost too much and makes me wonder if I can finish the glass. Thankfully a few more sips in the vanilla really starts to fade into a side note as the smoke starts to take over a bit. Very balanced. Easy drinker.

A great balanced beer. The vanilla is really nice, best vanilla I've had since dl vanilla bean, the smokiness finishes this in the best way.

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Photo of Dougwillhike
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rob99er
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of DougT
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Mattyb79
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Smoked Porter - Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 2361 ratings