Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean | Stone Brewing

very good
536 Reviews
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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Reviews: 536 | Ratings: 2,359
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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Photo of fragilehearted
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Beautiful pour. Beer is deep brown, with a little light showing through. Huge thick creamy head with amazing retention and beautiful lacing that sticks around.

S - Delicious. Vanilla (obviously) upfront, with chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt. Seriously, it smells like a dessert.

T - follows the smell. Simply amazing how the vanilla complements the roasted malts. I like their regular porter, but I don't even want it after this - the vanilla makes it so much better.

M - Medium bodied, perfect (medium) carbonation, very creamy.

D/O - I have to say, this is absolutely one of my favorite porters. It has all the regular porter appeal with the added vanilla that I love to make it a winner. I could drink this all the time. It is sublime. Stone, please make this one on the regular, and not the chipotle one.

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

Had on tap for the Total Tap Takeover Tour at the Rattle n' Hum in NYC. Served in a pint glass.

Look: almost black with a tan head. The head retains for what seems like forever and leaves a lot of lacing behind.

Smell: very sweet vanilla smell is out front. I'm surprised at how potent that smell is. There's also the roasted malt, chocolate and coffee you would expect to get from the Stone Smoked Porter.

Taste: like drinking a milkshake. A lot of vanilla flavor in here along with the roasted chocolate and coffee tastes. There's also some smokiness.

Feel: medium bodied tending towards heavy. The best way to describe the mouthfeel of this is to say that it is like drinking a very watery milkshake. It also has a nice level of carbonation.

Drink: very high. I drank this way too fast without even meaning to.

Overall, this was my favorite beer of the night. I love Smoked Porter to begin with but its amazing how a small ingredient addition can do so much to improve something that's already insanely good! I loved this beer and will get it again if I get the opportunity.

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

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black with traces of tan, foamy, creamy 2 inch head and lots of lacing.

Smell - Classic stone smoked porter, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits like plum and rasin, and the addition of vanilla.

Taste - The vanilla bean is really present. The smoked, malty, chocolate, coffee kick of the porter mixed with the vanilla gives it a almost, creame soda like flavor. Very smooth, sweet and tasty.

Mouthfeel - Malts coat whole mouth, tounge gets lots of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits with the vanilla. Palate gets more malts and a huge vanilla blast. Finish is nutty, malty and a little bitter.

Overall - Tasty, and enjoyed the vanilla moreso then the pepper version. This is a straight up dessert beer, sweet, creamy and rich. Till orginal smoked porter is the best, but this is #2 for me. Good stuff here.

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Photo of PintOHops
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Nonic

A - A little more clarity than other Smoked Porter's from Stone. A dark mahogany with a 2-finger head that looks pretty creamy. Tinges of ruby red can be seen. I didn't get any lacing on my glass.

S - Smokey, woody, charcoal, leather is all there just like in other versions. Subtle vanilla and a bit more pronounced brown sugar characteristic. Wonderfully fresh and inviting aroma. More vanilla comes through as it warms.

T - I definitely notice the vanilla right off the bat. Smokey and woody upfront with a soft but rich flavor of vanilla peeking in and out of the taste. I also pick up a bit of charcoal, and brown sugar. It's a mildly sweet brew that finishes with more bitterness than other versions, dryness, and more vanilla. A bit of leafy hop flavors as well.

M - Moderate-high crispness with a medium body.

O - Just an outstanding Porter here. I love the other versions that I'v tried from Stone, and this one is no exception. Wonderfully smokey throughout, with rich vanilla that isn't overpowering or off putting. The appearance and the smell are inviting, and the feel isn't too carbonated.

Very, very good brew. Definitely give it a try if you can. Cheers!

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Photo of vfgccp
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

- Pardon the abbreviated review, this was sampled at a free Stone tasting. Special thanks to Big Z's in Huntington NY -

A - Deep cola brown. Bone white head.

S - Soft vanilla icecream and creme brulee.

T - Cream soda, vanilla, coffee, cream, toast. Touch of hazel nut and cedar smoke.

M - Cedar backend. Touch bitter. Semi-dry finish.

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Photo of jdshep
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark brown poor with about an inch and a half to two inch frothy head. If you hold it to the light you can see hints of red.

In the intial flavor I get the chocolate with the finish flavor coming in a little bitter and smokey coffee. This was an easy, smooth drink for me, had to consciencely slow down once or twice. This could easily become a strong session beer.

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nice foamy head when poured into a tall Waterford crystal glass. Hint of the vanilla and smoke in the nose. Thinner body than I was expecting but that does not impair its drinkability. No single element overwhelms in this beer. There is a lasting, pleasant aftertaste. I paired this beer with, of all things, grilled boar chops and blood sausage. Heavy fare. That is good food territory for this beer. Elk or venison would pair well. Make some chili and add a bottle to your chili and drink a 2nd bottle. I was not surprised to like this beer because it is a close flavor neighbor to one of my personal favorites, Ballast Point's Victory at Sea. I give BP the win on a comparison (and would love to compare them side by side) but BP does not run away with the race.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My buddy really wanted to try it and we split it.

A - Nice dark brown, black color with a light brown head and light lacing.

S - Soft but rich aroma with the vanilla really coming upfront and then the smooth smoked malt, light roast, dark chocolate and sweet coffee tones. The smoked character is there but it seems to be behind the real vanilla bean character.

T - The sweet malt and french vanilla are first to the tongue. The middle opens up into more of the depth that is Stone's smoked porter with caramel, light roasted coffee, chocolate, and the perfect amount of smoked character to add depth. The finish is where the roasted character really takes shape allowing some contrast to the sweet porter base. Very smooth and much richer than I would have anticipate at less than 6% ABV!

M - Moderate to high mouth-feel. low to moderate carbonation. I was surprised at the significant amount of mouth-feel that you could get from this beer. Enough to coat the palate on the sip and accentuate the flavors but still light enough not to linger.

Overall, this is a very delicious version of the smoked porter. It really blends the base beer with the vanilla very well and has a much more natural place than some of the vanilla beers I've had. The same goes for the amount of smoke with just enough to compliment but not be predominant. I really liked this beer and if you like porters I would strongly recommend this one since it is flavorful and easy to drink.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Large, fluffy, beige head, high retention on a black body. Suddsy, soapy, sticky lacing. Aroma includes notes of smoke, toasted malt, coffee, vanilla, chocolate malt, milk. Taste includes all of the same but the aftertaste is really a spectacular note of the vanilla. Delicious. I'm happy that the smoke isn't overdone, very nice.

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Photo of stumac
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours up black with great white head. No lacing. Aroma is vanilla bean right up front. Sweet malts. Taste is same as nose. Amazing fucking beer. Very cheap too. Full body. I dig this. Drinkin this while watching "I Heart Huckabees" good movie so far to start.

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Photo of tyanow
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a sweeter and decidedly more delicate version of the normal smoked porter from Stone.

The vanilla is present throughout the drinking experience. I could smell it as he pushed the glass across the bar. The smokey goodness of grains and bitter chocolate were tempered by the sweet vanilla aroma.

The taste is much of the same. This is a full body porter that is way to sweet and complex to session but a very nice treat.

Not sure if they still make this. The owner of Blue Palms said he had it aging for a couple of years.

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4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle to tulip.
$5.00 for the single.
Sampled 10AUG12

[A] On the pour, 1 finger of khaki colored head rises and sticks. The appearance is fairly tight and the texture is creamy foamy. Retention is well above average if not great. As receding begins, a continuous sheet of lace is draped over the glass. The body is dark brown with pockets of transparency displaying a deep garnet hue.

[S] First impression is that the smoke and vanilla bean qualities practically cancel each other out. Then, with warming, both are revealed independently. Although the vanilla is much more apparent, the two aromas strike a nice balance. In the background, the roasted malt character comes through with chocolate leading the way. Even deeper are notes of char and conditioned leather.

[T] Cream soda flavor earns major points with me cause I'm a sucker for that shit. And while the vanilla bean certainly is easy on the tongue, the smokey counterpoint is absolutely paramount. As are the roasted malts. Man, this beer sure is tasty. But even with that praise in mind, I'm perfectly content with a 12oz serving.

[M] Glorious. 5.9%? Really Stone, that's it? I'm impressed. Thick, creamy, mouth coating & straight up sumptuous. Carbonation is spot on providing a gentle, consistent tingle across the tongue throughout the entire sip. Body is only medium but the overall feel is much fuller.

[O] Bought 1 bottle and I'd like to pick up another for the season. Having had this first one relatively fresh, I'll probably age any future bottles to let a little of the vanilla fade off. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask at Churchkey yesterday in DC. Out of a pint style glass, 14oz pour.

A- Dark dark brown, with a slight touch of red. It's almost black, but just not quite. The head is a khaki color, and is quite prevalent for a cask beer. The lacing is also quite nice.

S- It's a robust, but sweet smell. Chocolatey malts/vanilla/smoke/nuttiness. The smell is a nice rich blend for a fairly light beer.

T- Smooth and creamy when it enters my mouth. The flavor then moves to a nutty malt flavor, with hints of vanilla and smoke. I normally hate overly smokey beers, but this one does it just right. My girlfriend even enjoyed this one...

M- Pretty much perfect. It's as complex of a low ABV porter I've had. The body/carbonation/mouthfeel are all spot on.

O- Glad I got the opportunity to have this one, especially on cask. I've always loved the regular Smoked Porter, and this one was just a notch above. The vanilla blends quite well, and makes a great beer even better.


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Photo of DoubleJ
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Is this a vanilla/chocolate shake from Ruby's? The vanilla is very pronounced in the flavor, where it melds well with the bittersweet chocolate. The porter part seems to be hidden underneath the vanilla bean. There was a touch of cardboard found in the aroma and flavor, but otherwise this was a rich, creamy treat that I would suggest to be served/mixed with vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks danwho and brew3crew for this one

Pours a very dark brown with. Touch of off-white head. Looks tasty. Smells smoky and strongly of vanilla. Almost too much vanilla on the nose. Same on the tongue. Just TONS of vanilla! Solid mouthfeel and a wonderful sipper

Drink it all day long, yeah. Really delish

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Photo of rudzud
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's, poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice rich oily black with a good two finger mocha head that fades to leave nice side lacing and good creamy blanket.

S - Excellent smokey porter notes, smoked malts and sweet roast. Very strong vanilla presence here. Incredibly strong, much stronger than when I had it on draft last year.

T - Ohhh yah. Nice rich, roasty malts and some light smoke. The heavy hand in this is the vanilla bean, which while some may say "oh, too much" I say it is just perfect. Love how up front the vanilla is. Just decadent.

M - Mouthfeel is good and creamy, very nice for a porter.

O - Overall I really liked this beer. Like it a bit more than the draft version, which I think suffered in the nose factor. Lovers of vanilla should seek this one out.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, smoke, and vanilla, with a bit of lactose sweetness and some light coffee.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with vanilla and a bit of smoke. Through the middle, the smoke and vanilla flavors get stronger with a touch of coffee and lactose. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, vanilla, and smoke.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a smokey and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. The vanilla really accentuates the smoke and chocolate flavors nicely. Excellent balance.

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Photo of Florida9
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Durty Nellie's

A: Served in a pint glass. Dark brown, approaching black, in color, but still allowing just a bit of light to come through. Served with a thin layer of thick, creamy, light tan colored head. Very good lacing.

S: Surprisingly strong aroma of vanilla mixed with roasted malts that opens up even more as it warms. Smoke is very subdued.

T: Even more vanilla. Some of the roasted malts. Cola. A bit of a bitter finish. A hesitate to call this beer "dry," but it certainly is not sweet.

M: On the heavier side of medium with appropriate carbonation.

D: A great beer. A don't want to call this a novelty beer, but its a bit whacked out in the sense of the typical porter. However, it all works. The vanilla is very apparent, in both the nose and the flavor, much more than I was expecting. But it is the lack of sweetness and the light backbone of roasted malts make this beer feel a bit more "serious," allowing the vanilla to be center stage while not tasting like vanilla ice cream. For me, it was easily drinkable, and while I enjoyed it while eating nachos and a burger, I think it would be an even better dessert beer.

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Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: in this beer absorbs light! Coffee head that recedes after a few minutes. Light to moderate lacing is left along the glass.

S: Vanilla is faint here (more on that later). Smells like dark malts were toasted with charcoal. There is a smoothness to the aroma that I am attributing to the vanilla (though I cannot readily assure you that this is the culprit) that cuts the charcoal with a sweet aroma. Very complex and inviting.

T: Burnt dark malts, coffee beans, and sugars. Vanilla is there, I guess. This is an incredibly smooth beer. There is a definite nutty flavor in there that is quite pleasing to the palate. Finally, you get a nice bitter dry finish. I absolutely love this brew.

M: Carbonation was good. This was an incredibly smooth beer if not a little thin.

D: Very drinkable, but I would say that of any style Porters cask condition the best. Very nice!

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Photo of steviewonder16
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites. Nice color and aroma pours evenly and very easy to get the half inch head. Just the right amount of carbonation. You get the vanilla with a hint of smokiness in a great tasting porter. It has a robust flavor AND smooth on the palate.

Another very good beer from Stone Brewing.

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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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