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 4000qtrap
1.84/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Source/Serving: 12oz bottle

S: Smooth, bourbony alcohol-laced vanilla and dark chocolate are prominent. Hints of cola, marshmellow, fireplace ash. A little bit harsh overall, but has some uniqueness to it.

T: Slightly sweet cola upfront with a bitter chocolate note in the background. Vanilla comes through slightly. Almost immediately the smoke hits and its harsh, acrid, and largely unpleasant. Very intense and I like smoke beers, with quite an unpleasant burned/charred character. Rather than balance the sweet vanilla note it overpowers, clashes, and doesn't work at all. This does subside slightly halfway through the sip to reveal some bourbon, coffee and vanilla, whose sweetness is a respite from the harsh, bitter smoke and work nicely together, but this quickly gives way to a harsh, unpleasant ash/charcoal note which dominates the finish and makes the lingering flavor of each sip unpleasant.

Notes: A really harsh, awful brew and I'm a really big fan of this style of beer.

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Photo of brutusmuktuk
2.1/5  rDev -46%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Pours a beautiful dark mahogany with a very healthy off-white head. Unfortunately the rest of the beer just doesn’t do it for me, which is so disappointing because I love Stone’s original Smoked Porter. The vanilla just does not blend well with the malts in terms of aroma and flavor. The addition of vanilla is more harsh than smooth and sweet, and just plain tastes bad. Perhaps it will be worth a revisit one day, as I can’t quite figure out what happened with what sounds like such a promising (and highly rated) beer.

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Photo of KHarz
2.16/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Shared a bottle among four friends using wine glasses. Not well received by anyone in the group. The overwhelming smell of burnt popcorn pervaded the nose. The vanilla was almost non-existent in nose or while tasting. Mouthfeel was almost watery. This beer was not what I expected from Stone. I purchased two bottles, but had to bring the second back and ask for an exchange.

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Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
2.26/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I honestly can say that this beer is on my "avoid" list.I recently tried clown shoes ganghis pecan.With all that roasted and smoked characters it really gave the beers a taste that my pallet just won't forgive.To each their own.But for this guy I have to give it a fail.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.33/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Color is a dark cola color with a sudsy white lace.
The aroma smells like a dry vanilla coke. The vanilla is very dominant.
The smoked malt flavors come out some more here in taste, the vanilla is still very strong and playing lead role. Cola flavors, i really can't get past thinking of cola here.
The mouthfeel is semi sticky, low to moderate carbonation, medium body.

Not really digging this. I don't think the smoked malt base is ideal for the vanilla addition, maybe if there was more chocolate malts and this had a bigger body that could be great, but as it is now the vanilla is too much.


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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.4/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Served into a snifter.

A very black liquid sits in my glass with a fingers worth of tan head. Slight roast on the nose with very sweet vanilla. Sounded tasty when I ordered it. Mouth was kinda thin for me and not a lot of carbonation. I like vanilla, love it in fact but this tasted like cheap vanilla extract dumped into my beer. It was flat out gross. I can't get around the awful cheap taste and aftertaste in my mouth. I had to dock points for that. Another swing and a miss from Stone for me.

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Photo of jethrodium
2.44/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark cola brown with a small tan that has head decent retention and leaves lots of small spots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is vanilla. Lots of sweet vanilla and a bit of coffee and cocoa. The initial taste is sweet with a lot of vanilla, a bit of coffee, a little bit of chocolate, and more vanilla. Finish has lingering vanilla. Medium body. Low carbonation. Vanilla just overpowers everything here and comes off as way too sweet. Disappointing.

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Photo of Beerlover
2.47/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

let me start by defending myself, this seems to be getting a pretty high rating for what I felt it should have...Stone is in my top 5 breweries which is hard to get in/ stay in for a guy that has had over 600 different beers in the past few years, stone is consistently solid and I still love them, this is probably the least favorite offering I've ever had from them, I love their normal smoked porter and I have liked most vanilla flavored stouts/porters I've tried maybe the two just don't mix, at least not for me.
A:thin bodied like a porter should be but still very dark crimson brown almost black, with a thin off white head.
S:best quality of this beer, the vanilla is by far in the fore front with hints of smokiness but something smells burnt, like the malts perhaps or maybe just the combo of the vanilla and smoke, reminds me a little of Linenkugels snowdrift vanilla porter, which I hated (no surprise from Linnies).
T: not expecting this is just...too much. I love when a beer is what it says it is but this is just too much for me, the flavor and the aroma are flip flopped, the vanilla is not as pronounced and the smoke comes out more, the WORST aspect of this beer is the aftertaste, YUCK! Icky ick yuck yucky yish! make it go away!
o.a. not good, sorry stone. still love ya, you're still in my top five, but beerlover don't likey this one. drain poured the last half, almost blasphemy for stone.

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Photo of oregonduck
2.62/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The smoke flavor was very overpowering. I just don't see the allure of this beer. I normally really like darker beers but the overwhelming smoke flavor made this very hard to drink.

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Photo of Chaney
2.64/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A: Looks like a dark, roasty porter, with a very bubbly, frothy, and vicious mocha head that clung to the glass on the way down and then some.

S: Didn't care much for the smell on this one. One of the danger of adding a dessert element to a base beer with a very smokey smell (or flavor) is that is come off (to me) like melted plastic.

T: The taste wasn't any better. It had sort of a stomach acid quality mixed in with the plastic as well, which kill all the smokiness of the original while leaving the bitterness intact.

M: Yeah, pretty bitter and most unpleasant taste-wise, but I still like the thick, snot-like texture here and the ridiculous lacing that was left behind.

O: This one sounded great on paper, but the result left far more to be desired.

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Photo of jeonseh
2.7/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a glass

A - Dark brown color with hints of light brown on the bottoms and edges. Has a frothy one finger head that settles down and leaves some nice lacing

S - Smoky cedar, roasted malt, light chocolate and coffee with a slight hint of the vanilla beans. The smoky scent dominates as you don't get as much vanilla as I'd hope for

T - Smoky and roasted malt up front. On the middle, there is a cream soda flavor that is what the vanilla provides here. The finish is more smokiness. The cream soda like flavor is good but doesnt meld well with the rest of the beer. The beer is also too thin for the flavors to stand up.

MF - Really thin and watery. Really wish this had a bit more heft to it as I'd feel it'd add to the flavors.

O - it's okay but really a disappointment from what I was expecting. The vanilla doesn't add much, the flavors are muted, and the body is really thin. Was hoping for more from Stone

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.7/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle from Lucky's (Woodstock, GA). 5.99. Enjoy by 3/4/14. Served in my Phish snifter.

Pours dark tea brown with a finger and a half of cream hued froth. Nice head retention and lacing galore.

Aroma seems a bit muted but carries nice notes of vanilla with some faint musty smoke.

Flavors of bold vanilla, smoked malt, caramel and bitter coffee. I really like the vanilla but there is some overreaching bitterness it's just a little too much.

Thin body with fair carbonation. Bitter burnt malt and vanilla finish.

Overall fair but this is far from Stone's best work in my opinion. The vanilla was the only thing that kept me drinking it.

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Photo of Dubbercody
2.7/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Portland Holiday Ale Festival 08.

Interesting beer, I really really liked the concept. The smell was nice, but then when drinking it was very much of two competing flavors in my mouth. Not the good kind. Too much vanilla, and did not hold me with an sort of balance.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.71/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tumbler pint glass.

A: Pours a moderately dark ruby red color that's almost translucent - it's easy to forget that this is one of the lighter porters on the market. The head is an impressively thick one finger light mocha color with solid retention. Nice webbed rings of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Decently smoky, with a little maltiness (though not necessarily roasted) and fruit. The vanilla almost smells detached from the rest of the beer, almost like it was added seperately. Kind of weird, but not exactly bad.

T: Okay, THERE'S the vanilla. The way it opens the beer, it really just steamrolls over the notes of light smoke, bittersweet chocolate, and darker fruits the base beer provides. There's a strange finishing acridness that's kind of harsh and phenolic at times. In addition, the vanilla is kind of weird and unpleasantly artificial tasting, further hurting its balance. I'm just not feeling this at all, it's really imbalanced in general. On the plus side, it improves somewhat as I continue to finish it (a trend I seem to notice in smoked beers).

M: Nothing too wrong here; it has a light texture and a wet finish, but the hints of plastic on the taste kind of makes the back of the tongue tingle unpleasantly. It's easy enough to drink, I guess. Low carbonation.

O: This beer is just one big "feh" from me. The vanilla isn't too well integrated, and it majorly detracts from an otherwise solidly good porter. The chipotle version seems to be far more up my alley; so I'll have to try that one out. As for this one? Give it a miss.

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Photo of founddrama
2.77/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Like a vanilla-ish version of Southern Tier Chokolat. Except whereas that was exceptionally chocolaty, this has only slight vanilla and only slight smoke. Not *bad* (it is smooth) -- it just didn't come across as a big, strong flavor.

Overall? Kind of a "flat cola" flavor, actually.

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Photo of rallison
2.79/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Beachwood.

Some characteristics are similar to the normal Stone Smoked Porter, but the vanilla overpowers certain aspects.

The smell is overwhelmingly of vanilla extract - which, after a couple smells, I cannot stand (and I love vanilla).

This artificial vanilla carries through to the taste and makes it very undrinkable. I'm sorry, but this is not a good beer.

Not recommended. About the only beer I've sent back at Beachwood (and hey, I said I would pay for it regardless!). Sure, give it a taste - just don't order a pint of it!

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Like the base beer and its chipotle cousin, this pours a dark brown body that darkens to black in the glass. This has more carbonation than the chipotle version; a finger of creamy, fine-bubbled tan head caps the beer, retains well, and leaves curtains. It almost looks like it's on nitro.

S: Also unlike the chipotle version, the adjunct here dominates the nose. Vanilla bean up front, with roasted grain and chocolate coming later. Couldn't find much smoke either.

T: This has an overpowering vanilla flavor, to the point where it seems artificial and imbalanced. It's somewhat tolerable on the nose, but on the taste it winds up dominating and creating an odd clash. The vanilla reminds me of cream soda in its intensity. The base beer barely expresses itself; there is chocolate and roasted grain, but none of the coffee-smoke nuance that was so nice in the chipotle version.

M: A bit foamy, medium-bodied.

O: Do BAs really love vanilla or something? Why is this scoring higher than the Chipotle version? It's mystifying. I wasn't terribly impressed.

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Photo of BeersOverBaghdad
2.86/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Definitely would not get this again.

A: Looks very much like a coca-cola when poured. slightly more carbonated than I would have expected.

S: Vanilla comes out a little in the nose, but is still subtle. certainly not overpowering

T: I was expecting very good things when i tasted it, but the beer had no inherent flavor. Tasted like a very mediocre porter with a lot of vanilla flavor that arrives nearing the end of the sip and hits you pretty hard. I'm a huge fan of vanilla porters and stouts, but this one definitely missed the mark. I am drinking it in Jan 2015 and it was a 2014 winter release, so it's possible that I may be drinking it slightly on the older side, but I doubt it. I don't taste many notes that I would have expected in this kind of porter.

F: A little thin, but pretty standard.

O: Eh. Not a fan

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Photo of TurboBrew
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber.. light brown with 1 finger head. Smells great.... light roast/toast, coffee notes, malt, sticky vanilla.
First taste was not pleasant. Band-aid off smoke root-beerish flavor. As you continue to drink it I adapted to the flavor. Its not great, but not terrible either. Just Ok. Too much smoke going on and no creaminess/body. Almost no aftertaste/linger. The flavor takes off quick and doesn't come back.

Feels too light all around. Water-ed down almost sugary flavor almost like a light root beer. Very drinkable because of this. The look and smell trump anything else this beer has to offer. Good to try but not impressed. So many other great beers brewed by stone though, this just isn't one of the greats in my opinion.

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Photo of smokeypeat
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Been looking forward to this one as I love smoked beers and vanilla. The regular Stone smoked porter is solid so hoping this special treatment will be even better.

Pours a deep dark brown color into glass. Some ruby color to the edges when held up to light.
A light tan head that hovers around 1/2 finger with some lacing on glass.

Smell on this one isn't what I expected. Getting lots of artificial vanilla. Some light roast coffee notes, just the slightest whiff of smoke.

Taste doesn't deliver what I hoped. Vanilla is front and center but it's not a full experience. It tastes "cheaper" than I thought it would like it's an off brand artificial vanilla. It also masks the vast bulk of the smoke and breakfast coffee type flavors I like in the regular version of this.

Mouthfeel really hurts this beer even more. Way too thin, seems very watery for the style. Plays up the cheap overall feel of the beer.

This one was a let down. Maybe if my expectations weren't as high I would have like this beer more, but as it stands I wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of n2185
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark brown with a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Sweet vanilla dominates the nose with the smoke and roasted malt notes relatively subtle.

T: Roasted malts are a bit more present here before a strong vanilla flavor hits. The finish is bitter and charred, clashing with the sweet vanilla in a not-very-pleasant way.

M: Medium body and carbonation, I'd prefer if it were creamier.

O: An alright beer, overall. Not undrinkable, but the vanilla is too strong and artificial tasting, and it clashes with the roasted malt characters.

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Photo of brystmar
3.04/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Loved this on draft at DLD, let's see how it fares from the bottle. 12oz'er shared by blatantdream.

Dark brown body spills into my glass as lots of tan head forms on the surface. Aroma immediately shows oxidization and not much more. Fortunately this died down as it warmed, and the vanilla is now at center stage instead of the cardboard-y-ness.

Taste is meh, and the body is massively overcarbonated. Bland, basic malt base is nothing special. Tastes very oxidized, mild smokeyness in the back I think? Bitterness lingers after I swallow, and it feels totally out of place.

This is just not very good, and that's a shame given how great it was on tap. Avoid the bottles.

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Photo of tony223366
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color, dark, dark walnut with fluffy, creamy head. Nice lacing. Looks an awful lot like Self-Righteous. Good looking beer.

S: Lots of vanilla! It smells like dessert. Lots of chocolate, some light smoked aromas. That vanilla really takes over, but it smells amazing!

T: It is unfortunately too unbalanced for me. I could see some people loving it though. Huge vanilla bean. Some chocolate, some light smoked flavors. Some acidity on the finish. This beer is missing balance. More smoked or malt depth is sorely needed. Don't like the finish much either.

M: Too light, needs more mouth feel. Light carbonation and smooth mouthfeel.

O: Love the vanilla bean, but the beer is not balanced. Won't buy again.

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Photo of stonermouse
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard beer mug.

Pours cola-colored with an off-white, fluffy head.

Smokey/sweet aroma, as expected. Although, I find myself wishing it was one or the other, because it's hard to find any depth or complexity in the smokiness with the vanilla intruding.

I expected much, but this brew was slightly disappointing. It's truly a two-trick pony. The smokiness is mild and nondescript, and the vanilla is slightly sweet and pleasant. Together, they are interesting, nothing more. I would've appreciated more booze, actually, which may have given these flavors a bit more edge. The vanilla flavoring reminded me quite a bit of the AB winter's bourbon cask ale- extracty with a touch of artificial sweetener. None of this brew was offensive, just OK and unusual.

Mouthfeel was sticky with more artificial sweetener. Not all that pleasant.

Overall, this was OK and I'm glad I tried it, but it fell short of expectations.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap into a nonic glass at the Winking Lizard

A- Poured black with a one finger frothy head that left some lace

S- Very potent aroma, big vanilla, lavender, and floral notes. No chocolate or coffee

T- A ton of vanilla, lavender, floral, and perfume like flavors with a little bit of smoke on the finish

M- Pretty thin for a porter and overcarbonated for my taste in the style

O- This beer tasted like if a vanilla bean and lavender air freshener made love in a field of flowers. Where are the roasty notes, coffee, and chocolate? This one just did not do it for me.

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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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