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 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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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
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 charadrius_cerevisiae
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A nice mixture of copper and brown, presenting as semi-tansparent but overly inviting.

S - Appetizing and lightly done smoke hits the nose first and then is followed by a whole bunch of, well, nothing.

T - Smoke leads, though gently done, followed by roasty malt flavors. What comes next, though, is water, and lots of it. There is basically not remanent of the flavor of the beer to be left on the palate. When you find the vanilla notes in the beer, they are fleeting and not very cohesive (sure, each palate will pick them up in varying amounts), and never really add anything to the beer in general.

M - Thin, from beginning to end. I guess I drink a porter to be reminded that there are some lingering unfermentable sugars in that liquor to add to some mouthfeel and warmth to the beer while other people amy just want the flavor and alcohol, but this kind of just become brown water to me.

O - I sure remember when Stone was the thing to have, and sure their IPAs are arguably the best in the world, but I really want beers that I can drink affordable and drink often, and this one does not fit that bill. Asa change to the normal porter lineup, this definitely offers uniqueness, but ask me what porters I am drinking for fun, and this one will not be on the list.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.1/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Quite a dark brew with tons of black; no light gets through. Head is three-finger and dense foamy straw color. Nice retention and great lacing.

Smells like campfire rubbish. Loads of forced vanilla and thin smoke. Milky cocoa too. Aroma is a mess.

Thin, light, creamy, nice toasty vanilla flavor. Milky, mildly smoked, caramel cocoa. Flavors are way less awkward than the aroma. Flavors are pretty good and nicely complex. My only gripe is the feel is too watery. Carbonation is heavy and detracts. Sweetness is a bit forced and over done, I wish it were more dry and reserved.

It's a much better beer than I thought it was going to be...but, IMO, it's a mess; unrefined. Flavors are very good and provide a nice profile, mouthfeel and aroma are a mess. Not sure I can recommend. But, I would like to say, for a smoked beer the flavors are done very nicely.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.12/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a moderate brown with lighter hues faintly coming thru once the light hits the glass. A delicate khaki head fades into a ring around the edge, but leads to some outstanding lacing. As with the standard version, looks quite thin in comparison to most porters today.

S- Smoke still leads the way from the get go, but it is accompanied with an authentic vanilla undertone that avoids any artificial flavoring. Smoked meats, roasted walnuts, and light earthy hops. Not bad, but doesn't seem to be a perfect fit for me.

T- Flavor is bold and aggressive. While the vanilla is present, it isn't overpowering to any degree. Adds a level of softness in the finish. Lots of peat all the way though. Certainly a perfect example of the style that is dying to be paired with a great dish (salmon, smoked bacon, burger, etc).

M- Probably the aspect of this version that I prefer over the standard. Seems to be a bit more body to it, but still more mid body. Smooth with little bitterness or astringency.

O- It makes no bones about being a 100% smoked beer. The vanilla adds a little twist on the original without deviating too far from effort previously set forth.

$4.99 for 22 oz bottle

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance – A dark, but clear ruby red black. Has a big head with lots of lacing.

Smell – Vanilla and ashtray smoke, and coffee. The vanilla has no sweetness to it, and I think it clashes with the smokiness.

Taste – Smoke, vanilla, malt. Decent, but not great.

Mouthfeel – Good carbonation, somewhat watery, and a little bitterness in the aftertaste.

Drinkability – This is a decent beer, but didn’t stand out as anything special.

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Photo of harrymel
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glad I am going to get to try this one, thought I might miss the train on this one.

Pours black with a good solid quilt of tan foam and nice lace resides along the glass. Lots of vanilla up front in the nose, smoke is reserved and plays tertiary fiddle to the beans and malts of chocolate and raw wood. Flavor is initially vanilla, then smoky (overly dry smoky sans flavor) then chocolate and dark portered malts then followed back up with more vanilla - this time with a vengeance. The vanilla is nice. There is a bitterness in the mid point that is not really justified or enjoyable to me - just strait bitterness like aspirin. Medium on heavy for the style with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. Meh, one and done for me.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle $3.99. Picked up the chipotle so I figured I might as well get the vanilla for comparison. This is truly a vanilla beer. It doesn't really taste sweet but the vanilla flavor almost completely overpowers the porter. The aroma was straight vanilla beans. The flavor was so much vanilla I thought I was drinking a cola. Not bad but not something I would ever purchase again.

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Photo of artdob
3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark cola color. Decent tan head

Nose - getting just the smallest amount of sweet malt. Really minor aroma from this pour.

Taste - light for a porter, but in an ok way. Roasty tones, cola notes withiut the sugar - not really getting a sense of the vanilla. Smokiness is there, but somewhat subdued - not the in your face approach as in Alaskan's Smoked Porter which is a fantastic experience.

Minor but adequate carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Enjoying this brew, but, don' t see myself purchasing more of this one.

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Photo of pants678
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Manhattan Beach @ Brewco.

Pours a deep brown to black with an off-white head. Head barely sticks around, nothing impressive.

Dead on smell, it's like getting a whiff of vanilla extract.

Not quite as potent as the nose but vanilla's still apparent but it's a subtlety. There are nuts, roasted malts and twinges of smoke covered up. It begs for distinction, though. Breckenridge does this better.

The body's lighter for a porter, certainly manageable. Able to enjoy this with a full plate no problem.

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Photo of gtermi
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black body with a thin white head that quickly fades to nothing. The beer also leaves a tinny bit of lace on the side of the glass.

S: There is a good amount of vanilla on the nose, some roasted scents, which sort of remind me of Voodoo Maple Bacon. Nothing special to me.

T: The roasted flavors just don't do much for me. It just doesnt blend with the vanilla to me. The vanilla flavors do make this beer taste beer the more it lingers, but I feel it would have worked better without the roasted malt.

M: The beer has a nice crispness on the back of the tongue and throat as it goes down.

O: Just a miss for me.. It does have some nice qualities, but but this just isn't doing it for me. The flavors dont blend well together and its just is an average beer.

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Photo of Phelps
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the second beer released by stone, on December 96. The chipotle variation was born ten years later, and was the first stone beer to get modified.

Poured into my Bell's tulip.

A chocolate brown liquid that melds into inky dark brown in the glass. The head, creamy, gets to about an inch thick and does its best the stay in place, leaving thick, pocked webbing.

Smoky, but gently so. A little campfire smoke, a noticeable scoop of chipotle. A touch of chocolate. Smells like a Mexican chocolate with peppers.

I've never been a huge fan of stone's smoked porter. It's a bit too subtle for me. Same deal here. The peppers are nicely integrated, and the heat on the tongue, just a suggestion of it, is perfect. but there's just not enough here to back it up. A smidge of dark chocolate, some piny hops, a rather dry finish. Just thin.

Like I said, thin. Light and a little fluffy in body. Moderate massaging carbonation, no hint of alcohol, the soft glow of pepper fire.

Eh. It's nowhere near as good as the vanilla porter, which could also be better. The chipotle integration is masterful, but the base beer leaves something to be desired.

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Photo of nova009
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- pours a dark mahogany with red tints around the edges, a small (less than a half finger) fizzy tan head appears, the head settles to a nice covering and slowly dissipates

S- dark roasted malt, bitter cocoa, a slightly smokiness, slightly sweet with a little vanilla in the late nose, a little bit coffee too

T- bitter dark malt, some smoke, bitter dark chocolate, maybe a slight hit of vanilla but I'm struggling to find it, there's a strange aftertaste that I cannot quite place, not exactly pleasant

M- medium body, fairly creamy consistency, decent carbonation, covers the entire palate

O- not my favorite, I'm not a huge fan of porters but I'm by no means opposed to them, just something about the really odd and unpleasant aftertaste is making this one difficult to drink for me, I wouldn't buy again

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Photo of chicano4craft
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Uptown Brother's...

Pours very dark with some amber on the edges. Lighting wasn't very good so I could be off. Minimal head with no real lacing.

Nose is all vanilla. Extremly hard to pick out the smoke or any of the other qualities the regular Smoke Porter has.

Taste is as expected...hugh vanilla. It dominates through out. There's the faintest hint of smoke, but you really got to hold it on the tongue to find it.

I'm not a fan of vanilla in my beer. However, I did hope for more with this beer. I wanted the vanilla to more subtle and compliment the smoke and roasted malt I enjoy in the reuglar porter. As my friend said "It was an experience." It just wasn't a very good one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.21/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Rodman's, served in my Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche tulip.

A very dark brown that ends up being black in the glass, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. The vanilla really dominates the nose, making it seem one dimensional. However, it does accentuate the cocoa and mild caramel notes of the base beer (the latter was obscured in the chipotle version), while doing a good (but unwelcome ) job of reducing the potency of the roast and smoke.

The palate opens sweet with plenty of vanilla, including a vanilla-like sweetness, coupled with the cocoa and chocolate (which have taken on more of a milk-chocolate note rather than a dark chocolate note that was present in the Chipotle version). The vanilla sweetness does also shine light on the not-so-positive fact that this beer is lighter in body than would be ideal. Mildly smoky on the finish with a moderate roast and cocoa character that is not very harmonious when paired with the intense vanilla. While the vanilla flavor is wholly natural, it is not terribly enjoyable IMO

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Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours brown with a medium rocky light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is some chocolate malts, smoke and perfumey vanilla.

The flavor is sweet vanilla followed by an acidic charry bitter smokiness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, interesting, but the sweet vanilla didn't blend well with the acidic bitter smoke to me.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Black with a light brown head of about half a finger, and ok lacing.

Aroma has light notes of smoke and heavy notes of vanilla. Flavor follows, with heavy vanilla taste. In fact, I think it's a bit heavy on the vanilla, as I can't really make out that much else, except a bit of an astringency.

Feel is about the same as their regular smoked porter. Body medium, carbonation smooth and light.

Overall it's not one of my favorites from stone, but it's plenty drinkable.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pint glass pour. Pours a dark brown with a beige foamy head with nice lacing.

The smell is vanilla forward with some nice chocolate accents, light coffee and a somewhat distracting rubber smell.

The taste is odd. Kinda getting a jumbled mess. Not much vanilla in the taste and whatever vanilla is present, it's contrasting with the porter elements. Some light smoke and a hoppy finish.

Overall the experience was underwhelming. I love vanilla but this just did not work for me. It did improve as it warmed but alas too late for any major improvements.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

Pours a nice dark dark brown with some mahogany hints. There is a nice half-inch light tan/off-white head that is pretty dense and slightly sticky.

Aroma strats off with mild cocoa notes that are then taken over by some nice rich vanilla hints. Notes of vanilla bean spice with some slight extract sweetness. The background has the more traditional smoked and roasted malt notes form their traditional porter.

Flavor is pretty straight forward. Starts off with smokey, roasted and burnt malt notes. Slight coco powder sweetness is perceived with some nice vanilla bean spice and sweetness. The burnt notes still take the lead on this brew with the vanilla bean riding shotgun. Nice dry roasted finish.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.26/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a lighter brown with foamy 2 finger head.

S- smell is light smokiness and not much else. Hints of dark chocolate malt. Not incredibly impressive though.

T- taste is smoky on the beginning and through the whole beer. It finishes with just a touch of vanilla bean, but not much.

M- Its robust but overall pretty smooth.

Overal- I honestly failed to spot the vanilla in this. It was so weak and overpowered with smokyness that it didn't really wasn't even that noticeable.

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Photo of beer2day
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chocolate brown pour with 1-finger of dark cream head. Head fades quickly. Laces nicely.

Smells like a coke. Nice mix of chocolate malt and vanilla bean. Very sweet.

Vanilla really comes on strong in the flavor. A little too much, contributing to a cloying flavor on the back of the tongue. Smoke starts to come in after a few sips and rescues you from the stronger vanilla flavor. The mix, though, just doesn't work for me.

Feel is a bit thin.

Just average. Vanilla is just too strong in their interpretation.

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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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