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 KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The nose and flavors are virtually the same as the vanilla is strong, yet a tad artificial, strong dry chocolate malt, light char or smoke and a bit or roasted coffee.

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Photo of mchegash
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried a 4oz sample at Pasadena (Liberty Station) store

Appearance - 3.5/5
Thing ring of head, would have liked more. Very dark brown.

Smell - 4.25/5
Dark malts, strong delicious vanilla smell.

Taste - 4/5
Roasted Malts, dark smokiness, vanilla.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium bodied, smooth, medium-light carbonation.

Overall - 4/5

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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 HardTarget
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep brown, not really black, shows clarity and holds a thin cover of white that laces a bit.

Smell: Mild chocolate, roast, coffee, and a bit of vanilla. Everything is clean but a little low in volume.

Taste: A bit of a cola taste, the vanilla comes in late and a little alcoholic. Sweetness overpowers the smokey notes, a bit cloying.

Feel: Medium light body, bit oily, a bit thin and watery.

Overall: The base Smoked Porter is a very fine beer. The vanilla is a nice touch, but like most vanilla beers, a bit heavy handed making the balance a bit too sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 9.99/22 oz bottle at Vintage Estates, Boardman, OH
Bomber at 45 degrees into hand washed and dried tulip
Aroma Roasted malt and vanilla
Head average (3 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to 4 mm ring and layer
Lacing poor – few medium islands of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown, clear
Flavor begins slightly sweet roasted malt and vanilla; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, somewhat syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle

Pours a dark clear brown, eggshell film for a head.

Smells of brown sugar, biscuit, vanilla, roasted coffee, and a light wooden finish.

Tastes of brown sugar, buttered toast, vanilla, roasted coffee, and walnut.

Medium body with stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

A pretty decent porter, the vanilla is a nice touch and comes through in the aroma and taste. Overall, not fantastic, but above average and very enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LOOK: Dark black with a tan head that laces the glass. Good clarity, however dark, no sediment. On par for the style.

SMELL: Vanilla is noticeable above the roasted and slight meaty smoked malts. Smells like a beer, not so much like a dessert, and that is desirable.

TASTE: The flavor of vanilla coffee is big upfront with some toasted and slight smokey quality. Mealy and vanilla like, pretty unique character. The smoke element really comes out more as the beer warms, with hints of smokey chocolate (if such a thing exists). Pretty tasty brew and worth savoring.

FEEL: Medium bodied with a firm carbonation. The beer loosens up a lot at room temperature.

OVERALL: A nice rendition of the smoked porter. Vanilla kind of sticks out like a sore thumb, but it is still nice. If they took this beer and aged in in bourbon barrels with coffee it would probably be the best thing ever.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a growler in a Rhinegeist snifter. This unique porter pours a dark blackish brown with ruby highlights and a solid off white foam head that dissipates to a thin pool and light ring of foam leaving some fantastic lacing. Nose of smoke, roasted malts, and rich vanilla. Flavors are smoke and vanilla forward, with vanilla and smoke resting heavily on the back with a light bitter malts aftertaste. Nice carbonation makes for an easy drinking experience, while the aftertaste reminds one that this is a unique take on a traditional porter. Smoke is a bit lighter in this one than the standard smoked porter which is very nice. For those who are not smoke fans this is a decent foray into the style.

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Photo of Auraan
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep brown, almost black with a thin ring of tan head. A nice looking porter, true to form. Scents of smoked malt, roast malt, coffee with cream and vanilla, with the cream and vanilla predominating, but fairly balanced. Overall impression of aroma is of a nice porter, true to form, with the special ingredients discernible and complementing the aroma profile. Quite nice. Flavor begins with the typical porter flavor compliment, dark chocolate, coffee, roast malt, at medium levels, aided by a cream, vanilla and lightly smokey flavor. Middle opens up more bitterness, with a stronger roast malt character, black coffee with cream and vanilla, along with an increasing smoked malt presence, and bittersweet cocoa. Finish is dry with notes of smoked malt, smokey wood, bittersweet chocolate and black coffee, with a bit of vanilla. Aftertaste is roasted and smoked malt. Overall impression of flavor is of a bold, smokey porter, more intense than the base smoked porter, with enough vanilla flavor to add further depth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-high carbonation and a smooth initial feel that becomes drying. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a rather chalky porter, still within the style, and pleasant in its own way. Overall this is a fairly good beer. It has a nice aroma that highlights the special additions and a flavor that follows. Mouthfeel aids flavor and makes the beer quite easy to drink. Perhaps a bit too bold and lacking in subtlety, but it's Stone, so that is to be expected.

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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 Bmftbl8
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Good porter but not a big fan of porters because of the lack of carbonation. Nice and smooth with a hint of vanilla bean. stone knows what they are doing and cannot mess up a beer.

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Photo of Capsfan90
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Based on a 3/31/15 enjoy by date bomber- Poured a two finger off-white head into a pint glass. The color was a beautiful ruby brown color, with initial scents of vanilla and chocolate and ended with smells of coffee. To be honest, I was expecting a creamery feel, which I believe was over shadowed by the excessive carbonation. Overall I did enjoy it throughly and look foward to trying it again winter.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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 blankenhoney
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber, best by 03.31.15, enjoyed from a snifter

A: Pours a translucent cola-like brown with a creamy, eggshell white head

S: Smoked wood, coffee grounds, thick vanilla, and dark chocolate

T: Great contrast between the rich, roasty dark chocolate and the sweet, bright vanilla. Mildly sweet, mildly smoky, and laced with a nice vanilla undertone. Finishes dry and quite bitter

M: Lighter side of medium-body, which makes it very easy (and enjoyable) to drink. It's pretty heavily carbed and almost fizzy.

O: A great beer that I would return to frequently, but it's a bit overpriced ($8.99) in my neck of the woods, at least compared to the $6.99 price tag others have mentioned. Love the prominent vanilla flavors and the mild smoke notes. And I preferred it at colder temps.

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Photo of wilky
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 22oz. bottle from my local beer store for $6.99 this weekend. Solid price, solid beer. Poured into a mug, this beer produces a hefty, creamy head which lingers. Dark brown, almost black in color, but takes on reddish/amber hues when held up to a light. The aroma is roasty and hints at vanilla beans, but mostly I sense chocolate and coffee flavors from the aroma and the taste. Well-balanced, pleasant and drinkable with a hint of dryness in the aftertaste. My only potential reservation is that I did notice the elevated level of carbonation, but overall, I am quite pleased by this selection for the winter season.

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Photo of colingaiser
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into tulip glass after sitting out of fridge for ~45 min.

L: Nice opaque molasses brown with a tan head, though I only could get a few fingers of light, foamy head with a medium pour.

S: Incredibly inviting ... there's a nice campfire smokiness with underlying sweet vanilla, along with aromas of toasted nuts, brown sugar, and even a little black licorice.

T: The taste is complex, but not one flavor note overpowers the palate. Immediately I pick up on a little Earthy smokiness -- though it's fairly light and approachable for a beer with "smoked" as the first word. Like in the scent, there are also notes of toasted nuts and sweet vanilla bean, then some dark cocoa becomes noticeable in the backend. This gives way to a slightly bitter dark chocolate finish.

F: The mouthfeel is fairly creamy, with a medium body and a medium-high amount of carbonation. It seems appropriate for the style, though I'd be interested what a lower level of carbonation would offer.

O: This is a deceptively light beer where the smoky and sweet aromas and flavors come together harmoniously to create a really enjoyable drinking experience. However, if I had to nit-pick, I'd ask for less carbonation next time around.

Would buy in reasonably priced six-packs.

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Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look is dark brown but not quite black and very carbonated, two finger head. Smell was vanilla and hints of coffee. Was smooth and lighter than expected, with flavor of vanilla and aftertaste of spice which gave it a nice balance. Overall a pretty good beer, but I have to admit I was expecting more.

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Photo of PostRockandCats
3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

My first foray into smoked beers.

Good balance. The smoke takes a little getting used to, but I am attributing that to the style, not anything bad with the brewers.

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Photo of CJNAPS
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is already my favorte Porter and in my opinion they made it better with the Vanilla bean.
Still pours a nice dark brown, tan almost caramel color head. The hint of vanilla at the end is great. Cheers

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
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 verygeeky
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy/murky appearance on tap in a pint glass. Nearly no head.

Heavy vanillin in the smell, slight smoke, as the name would imply. Defined sweetness.

Thinner mouth feel than I'd prefer in a porter.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
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 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 lushes22
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Almost pitch black but a bit of ruby red. Finger high head which dissipates quickly. Light lacing.
S. Typical porter smell, chocolate, coffee, and some malt with a bit of smoke. Slight vanilla so pretty much how would expect it to smell.
T. Enjoyable as get more of smoke and vanilla is mild. Get more vanilla as it warms.
M. Smooth with light carbonation.
O. Very solid smoked porter and vanilla is nice compliment. Not quite up there with founders and smuttynose though.

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Photo of LordofthePings
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark and clear. Some head but not too much
S: Not overly fragrant, typical porter smell with hints of vanilla. I could not sense any smoke.
T: Not too bad. Typical porter with a bit of vanilla though not overwhelming. I cannot taste the smoke. Smooth flavor and well blended. Some tartness at first but not as much as some other porters.
M: Low to medium carbonation. Goes down smoothly.
O: Not a bad porter. I'm not a huge fan of the style but when I'm in the mood for a porter, this one would be good. Would purchase again when in the mood for this style. I like the vanilla character, not too strong but present nonetheless.

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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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