Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean | Stone Brewing

very good
2,359 Ratings
Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla BeanStone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by MiScusi on 08-31-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 536 | Ratings: 2,359
Photo of Trooper92292
5/5  rDev +28.5%
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 Joncasso
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really love stones smoked porter and this is a great addition. Different flavor. I can't really figure out a distinct vanilla flavor, but you can taste a difference between this and the regular and that difference is still very delicious.

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Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BASED ON NOTES: Tried late last year during SDBW.
A: Nice solid dark beer. Served shamelessly in a chilled pint glass...bastards!

S: Vanilla, vanilla, and a little vanilla. Chocolate, coffee was present.

T: Alwesome beer. The gravity of this beer was mild, and a light/medium body that just went down with ease. Went well with pizza that we ordered it with.

O: Top porters for sure. Great beer for any special occasion.

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Photo of Tiklmelmo
4.92/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Dark chocolate colored with a quarter inch of rocky tan head. Some lacing.

S - Vanilla is the first thing that hits you, but you can still smell the smoke behind it. Smells like a french vanilla iced coffee brewed over a campfire. I could smell this all night.

T - Vanilla first, followed by dark chocolate and coffee with big roasty malt flavors, finishing in just the right amount of smokiness. This is an incredibly balanced beer.

M - Creamy and medium to full-bodied. Just right carbonation.

D - Dangerously drinkable. I wish I could get this regularly.

This may be the best porter I've ever had.

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Photo of stlunatic15
4.85/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful dark, black coffee color. Thin off-white head.

S - Like a vanilla cappuccino. Very subtle and not too overpowering. I also get hints of some light coconut.

T - Smooth, vanilla and mocha taste. Perfect balance of the porter and vanilla flavor.

M - Medium thickness, goes down very well and easy. Nice mild finish.

O - This beer is delicious. I don't drink porters or stouts often, but this one is by far one of the best I've tried. I am really glad Stone came out with this one; they never disappoint.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.83/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vanilla bean comes across very strong in the nose. Its right up front backed up by chocolate and very slight coffee notes. Theres a little roastiness but no apparent smokey scents like in the original and the chipotle. There's roasted, smokey flavors right up front along with a strong vanilla bean taste. The smokiness and vanilla sweetness blend together in a really interesting way. The chocolate flavors come up next and it all fades out into a slightly sweet smoked coffee taste. This is an awesome brew. The chipotle was good but this is definitely my favorite of the three (including the original).

EDIT: So, I'm having another one right now and it is much smokier than the last one I had. Still smells very vanilla and the flavor has a lot of vanilla but the original smokey characteristics of the Smoked Porter stick out a LOT more than before. Still delicious and much more unique than just vanilla bean. Thank you AJ's for having some in Tucson.

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Photo of Snow81
4.82/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black as night

Head: Very little head that dissipates quickly and leaves a little lace on the edges

Smell: Light notes of vanilla extract and a bit of a heavy smokey maltyness

Taste: Creamy vanilla with sweet black malts

Weight: Creamy body medium to heavy

Finish: Vanilla bean sticks around with a little roosted malt

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Photo of CJthirty7
4.73/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark, dark brown, almost black with about a 1/4" thick, frothy head, tan in color. Head remained to the last drink. The whole thing looked thick enough to spread on some toast in the morning.

S - I could sense hints of Nestle Nesquik, perhaps some of the vanilla bean. I'm not sure how they used the Nesquik in the brewing process, but however they did it, it was amazing to smell. I poured some on the carpet of my car to give my car the scent.

T - An explosion of carmel, chocolate (um, nesquik?), roasted malt all in one. I really couldn't put the drink down it tasted so good. I didn't really taste the vanilla bean, but could sense a sweetness in the porter.

M - Rich and creamy. Had the mouthfeel of a Guiness. Just smooth.

D - I drank two, very quickly. I really didn't want to set this beer down. I asked if I could fill a growler of it, but I guess thats illegal in CA bars.

Overall, probably the best porter I've ever had. Came from a cask, so that probably brings things up a notch. I'm going back for more before they run out.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks from danwho! You are the man

A-dark black with nice white lacing.
S- kinda smells like lucky charms lol.
T- alot like it smells. Huge vanilla taste. Love it. And I thought you could have too much! Nope!
M- medium body and very sweet. Love the vanilla.
L- did I mention I love the vanilla?

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Photo of samie85
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at the Twisted Spoke Stone launch yesterday, 4/01/10. Reviewed from notes.

A-Pours very dark brown/black with a thick, brown sugar-colored head.

S-I'm getting smoke with vanilla and a bunch of chocolate and a slight roasted note. Really nice, I'm thirsty...

T-There's that hint of a roasted note upfront with loads of creamy chocolate with vanilla and finishes with a dry, dark chocolate finish.

M-This one is really smooth. Thick, full-bodied almost milk-shake like in the way that it coats your mouth; medium carbonation.

D-Wow, this is one great beer. Really easy drinking, but nice and complex without being in your face about it. Probably my favorite out of three Stone beers I tried at this event.

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Photo of Rhynes2
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was on tap at the local shop and pours a beautiful dark color with a creamy head. Great head retention and lacing. I could smell the vanilla right off the bat and it has the best vanilla flavor i have ever seen in a beer. It mixes well with the dark malts with flavors found in the original Smoked Porter. Coffee and chocolate are the main flavors I take away from this one. Over all i think this is a great beer and I'll be getting this one again.

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Photo of NickMunford
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first time I had this was on cask at the Stone 12th Anniversary festival, and it was all 5's, in my opinion. This review is based on a growler I got at the brewery last Saturday.

A - Black with a two finger cappuccino colored head.

S - Smells like what I imagine burning vanilla beans to smell like. Sweet and smoky. Very appetizing.

T - To me, this tasted like it has more smoky overtones, with vanilla in the near background, rather than the other way around. All mixed in with that great dark porter taste.

M - Smooth and dry. There was something in there that kinda made me think of a "gritty" mouthfeel, if that's possible in a liquid form.

D - A very drinkable beer. I could easily go through the whole growler myself.

Serving type: growler

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-Pitch black. Rosewood colored edging on the bottom. Manila creamy head that clichés aside, looks like vanilla bean ice cream. Fluffy soda float head is few fingers thick. Lacing is wavy and washes down glass with every sip and sticks. For porters, (which have small heads) the head life lasted until the last drop. A thin layer of bubbly head was around half an hour later. Dark body with a contrasting bright head. Incredible.

S-Roasted vanilla bean. Musty. Spoiled milk. A spiced flower or root or something, like chicory. Unpleasant smelling, like wet mildew. When warmed it smells more natural.

T-Vanilla bean. Roasted coffee. Creamer. Bitter chocolate. Resin. Charcoal. Slight sour finish. Sweet white sugar on the finish as well. This honestly is the best flavored porter I have had so far, flavor as in specialty porter, not regular porter. Like tasting flavored vodkas and finding a favorite. This vanilla bean porter is my favorite flavored porter now. Interesting, the smell is off-putting, but the taste you can't get enough of. Tastes stronger then 5.9% ABV.

M-Perfect medium. Feels frothy even when the head shrinks to a thin top layer. This is due to the perfect medium carbonation which is surprising via porters being low carbonated usually. Lush milk softness, you can lap the beer up. Palate is left tingled and tickled, how a roasted beer should feel. Dry finish, with a slight oily coating. Becomes alky and slightly astringent with time. Would give perfect score for feel, it does get watery after 8 minutes or so.

O-First sip I was very surprised how awesome the vanilla bean was. I thought it was going to be a dark porter with a slight, somewhat detectable amount of vanilla bean. Instead it sips like a porter vanilla bean ice cream float. With enough porter qualities for the porter fanatic, this beer is one that I see most having to try. Cheers to Laura Ulrich at Stone for her creative infusion.

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Photo of Pexkool
4.62/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours a deep dark brown that lets light pass through from the sides and bottom. About 1 finger of brown head that leaves a faint lace.

S - All I can smell is sweetness and vanilla, and I am okay with that.

T - Toasted malts at first, then vanilla sweetness. Delicious vanilla and then coffee and hops at the end. It tastes like what you would expect after sniffing it, without leaving behind the characteristics of a Porter.

M - Smooth as silk, little carbonation and just the right amount of hops to finish just fine.

Overall, the best of the two brews of Smoked Porter Stone made (IMO). The vanilla beans make an excellent combination and I will definitely have it again. Will definitely look for it the next time I buy beer.

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Photo of fourthaxis
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer a few times in a growler from Stone. I heard they were putting it in bottles, but I just happened to see one and grabbed it. I guess I could write 250 words if I actually poured this beer out of the 12 oz bottle... It's the dark beast that you expect, but it's punching you with vanilla, and you like it!

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Photo of tmm313
4.59/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Darkest possible mahogany/brown in the glass. Dark amber hues around the edges. Poured a creamy one finger head that dissipated nicely into ring. Good trailing and lacing.

S- Big vanilla, dark roast coffee, chocolate, nuttiness, and a little dark fruit. I swear to god, its making me think of "Nutter Butter Creme Patties".

T- Vanilla and dark fruits up front, followed by dark roast coffee and dark chocolate spiked with some caramel. Bitter coffee and roasty aftertaste with a hint of vanilla.

M- Medium body with excellent, crisp carbonation. Drying with a slightly bittersweet aftertaste.

O- Yep, this is one of the best Porters I've ever had. This is what I have been hoping I would find every time I've ever bought, or imagined, a vanilla porter. Beautifully balanced and complex. Stone continues to amaze me with their craftsmanship and excellent brews! If you haven't dedicated some time trying Stone beers, you're kind of wasting your life. I will hunt this down every time it is released.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On-tap 1/7/2014 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a US tumbler pint glass.

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

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

T: The taste starts out sweet with a strong and sweet vanilla flavor up front followed by a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character. There’s some smokiness in the background as well as flavors of chocolate and coffee. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

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

O: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice flavorful porter to drink for a long time.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask in the Bistro.

A: Very dark, pretty much black with a tan head.

S: Smell is like vanilla ice cream to me. But it still retained some of the smokiness.

T: Initially it tasted like a great vanilla float, to be honest. Very wide range of flavors though. The smoked flavor isn't as noticeable, it becomes more roasted/nutty.

M: Very smooth, seemed to coat the mouth a bit. Very pleasant.

D: I could drink this all day.

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Photo of Cromster
4.57/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stone World Bistro and Gardens.

Appearance - Deep red color with a light foamy head. Moderate lacing on the glass.

Smell - Smokey caramel and vanilla. I couldn't stop smelling this beer as I drank it.

Taste - Tastes of coffee and vanilla with slight hints of chocolate and earth. Finish is mildy bitter

Mouthfeel - Feels good in the mouth and hits the top of your palate with a mild alcohol bite.

Drinkability - Very easy drinking and refreshing. I could drink this beer all night long thanks to the flavor and the lower ABV.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.56/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Cole's. Served in pint glass.

A - Dark black with one finger of bubbly light brown head with decent retention. Great lacing with big long legs on the walls of the glass.

S - Roasted malts, vanilla, smoke. A good balance of the three aromas.

T - Roasted malts and a big hit of vanilla. Smoke is a secondary flavour but is definitely present. A decent bitterness balances out a sweet malt bill. The vanilla is in percent proportion, not overpowering the other flavours but defintiely from and centre.

M - Medium body, smooth. Light to moderate carbonation.

O - A truly excellent beer. Stone found a way to actually improve my favourite beer of theirs. Well done.

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Photo of microbrew52
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one exceptional brew...considering you are drinking it, it's probably getting poured from other means than a bottle. This pour dark with a tannish head which stays thin as you sip. It goes down like a guiness but much more drinkable. Great taste and feel in the mouth but not too filling. This lasted all but a week in the local pub. Happens every time. Although stone is know as being arrogant, this brew is know for being universal.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great thanks to danwho and Brew3Crew for this. Tasted at Jackie O's Bottle release, 4-2-2011, notes from same.

A - Pours a black body with a loose tan head.

S - Theres some nice roasted character in the nose, nicely balanced with some sweet vanilla.

T - Sweet vanilla and roasty malts. Well balanced flavor, and very much in line with the nose. Really Very excellent.

M - thick and smooth, great body.

O (D) - Very tasty, nice complexity, definitely a great beer. Nothing is too powerful, very drinkable.

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Photo of ZBerkeleyan
4.51/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle, and it created a nice thick tan head. Lacing stuck to the sides of the glass, and light shone though the brew creating a crimson-brown glow.

The smell was the least impressive aspect, though it definitely improved and got more complex as the beer warmed. The vanilla bean was immediately apparent, while the other flavors were subtler and took time and a warmer temperature to become noticeable. There is also some spice in the nose, and malts.

The taste was just phenomenal. Creamy vanilla combined with a smokey, almost meaty second act. This unusual combination works amazingly well. It keeps the beer interesting til the very end.

The mouthfeel was, like any porter, pretty substantial. However, this one isn't too terribly filling or overwhelming. Still, even when taken in small sips, it has a bold and chewy character. Very satisfying, like a dessert (speaking of which, if you're in the mood for experimentation, pour a little of this over vanilla ice cream. Beer nerd sacrilege? Maybe. But it's a great way to make any old cheap pint of vanilla ice cream into a complex and worthwhile dessert).

Overall, do yourself a favor and try this one. Definitely worthwhile.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown with just the faintest amount of visibility through the beer. Big, dark, khaki brown head and plenty of lacing down the glass. A near perfect appearance.

Roasted malts and chocolate in the nose and sweet, earthy vanilla. Wonderful!

The flavor is not at all smoky, like the original base beer. Instead, this is a roasty, chocolatey, vanilla masterpiece.

Velvety, smooth, full mouthfeel.

A wonderful base beer made much, much better by the vanilla bean and cask.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cask at Churchill's

Look: Black with brown laces on top and bottom a beautiful 1 inch head with great retention and some nice lace

Smell: The sweetness from the vanilla completely masks the smokiness that I love about the orginal version but the sweetness of the vanilla with the chocolate and coffee is amazing

Taste: Vanilla is upfront and in full force to the point that it is really really sweet not at all like the regular version. The smoke is completely gone when cold but as the beer warms it shows up but just in trace amounts. The backend carries some chocolate and coffee

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation and real silky feel to it. Perfect

Overall: Really good beer but all the orginal version is missing. Is that a bad thing no but I was hoping that the vanilla would blend better with the smoke instead of just hiding it.

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Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,359 ratings.
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