Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
87
very good
2,359 Ratings
Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla BeanStone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,359
Reviews:
536
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
12.34%
 
 
Wants:
125
Gots:
359
For Trade:
9
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 2,359 |  Reviews: 536
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

 552 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dont like this as much as the chipotle version, but its still a nice porter. it pours a lazy looking dark brown color without a whole lot of head. it smells very strongly of vanilla beans, sticky and sweet, fresh. the smoke smell and flavor is largely masked by the vanilla, which i think is a major detriment to this beer. the original is great for that robust smoke flavor, and the chipotle version really enhanced that property, but its not as evident with the vanilla, and its missing to me. flavor is good though, desserty, sweet. i wouldnt drink a bunch of these, but one is fine. might also be nice with a creamy dessert like panacotta or something. feel is good, low on carbonation but thats okay here, sturdy body, sugary finish. an excellent porter on its own, but compared to the rerular smoked porter, it seems unnecessary.

 835 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap the other day at winter storm. I'm not the biggest fan of porters but this one was pretty interesting as it was loaded with vanilla flavor and smell.

The beer poured a black color that produced a nice fluffy tan head. It faded after a minute and left behind some lace. The smell was half of coffee/dark malts and half of vanilla. I couldn't detect the smoke flavor in the aroma like I could with the regular bottled version. The flavor was heavy on the vanilla flavor and I could taste the smoke flavor a little. There was plenty of roasted malt/coffee flavor there but everything was smoothed over by the vanilla.

Overall, I think that its an alright porter but the vanilla really gave it something nice. I guess that should tell you something: that someone who doesn't drink a lot of porters enjoys this beer. I guess that either makes it a really good beer or a watered down version that everyone can enjoy. Judge for yourself.

 949 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Max's, pours a nice cloudy brown color. Smell is of faint vanilla, tannish head to it. Great creamy mouthfeel, well balanced with tons of roasted maltiness and a present, but subtle vanilla undertone. Finishes clean and smooth. Very flavorful porter, Stone shines through once again, one of the best beers I had at the bar all night.

 347 characters

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blind Tiger Ale House, New York, NY

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a half finger high beige head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of vanilla bean in the nose.
T: The initial taste has notes of smoke, but this quickly transitions to lots of flavors of vanilla, which persist through the finish, which also has a hint of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is rather easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden and the sweetness and vanilla flavors are balanced enough from being overpowering.

 727 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone's usual brash demeanor takes a more delicate stride with the vanilla coat that adorns their ever popular Smoked Porter.

The beer pours like many other porters; with a dark brown color and delicate creme that gives the dark ale a very espresso-like appearance. Capped by the dainty off white foam that's fueled by carbonation, the beer trails with subdued islands of lace.

But a visit to the nose brings something different- the coffee and chocolate notes that are familiar to porters are complemented by the unmistakable and savory veil of vanilla and campfire. Where the mild smoky notes bring about a spice complexity, the vanilla soothes the senses and evokes a calming response to the nose.

The love affair that the smoky coffee flavor and vanilla companionship provide a masculine and feminine taste that plays out on the semisweet malt base of slightly scorched molasses, light taste of malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates. Toast, walnut oils, and coconut play out underneath the firm malt underpinnings and the decoration of smoke and cream.

Mild to texture, somehow the palate expects more fullness, richness, and viscocity. But the low-lying carbonation allows the ale to rest weightedly on the palate for full appreciation of flavor for a semi cask-like effect. A patient transition across the middle palate lands at the finish with a light mouthfeel of silk and mint-like alcohol warmth.

Although the vanilla provides a soothing effect to the otherwise masculine porter, the mouthfeel keeps me yearning for an imperial version of this beer. But its effortless palate and high rate of drinkability more than make up for it.

 1,650 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, a decent New Year's Eve kickoff, if there ever was one.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick amber colour, with two fingers of weakly puffy, and mostly just bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent, if awkward webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of roasted, gamey caramel malt, wet dark bread, bittersweet chocolate, burnt cream, an acrid nuttiness, vanilla that I only notice because it's in the freaking name, a bit of earthy yeast, and very tame weedy, leafy hops. The taste is more toasted caramel malt, a rather emergent vanilla bean sweetness, a now more ethereal smoked meatiness, middling cocoa powder, a touch of mid-day cold coffee, and weak leafy, weedy hops.

The bubbles are present, in a genial, mostly supportive frothy measure, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and pretty much straight-up smooth, with a cold creaminess waiting in the wings. It finishes on the sweet side, the bready caramel, vanilla, and fading cocoa notes carrying the day.

A pleasant enough re-imagining of the original smoked porter, wherein the vanilla guest star eventually overcomes the inherent smokiness of the base beer. I actually like this one better overall, for the same reasons - less acrid meaty smoke (save that for the summer BBQs on my deck), and more sweet, sweet vanilla - the sort of thing I used to derive from homemade vanilla vodka - yeah.

 1,417 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kojevergas
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served on-cask into a 25 cl Leffe goblet at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were above average.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention. Colour is a dark amber-black. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Smoke, dark malts, yeast, cream, and roast. Complex and enjoyable. Smoke is dominant. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Smokey with cream. Some dark malts. Timid. Balanced decently. Built okay for a smoked porter, but I've had better. Vanilla is subtly present and is the best aspect of the flavour. Not bold, unique, or special. I like it but it's not great.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Too light and too thin. Not enough cream. Weak. Should be more coarse. Complements the flavour decently.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but it suffers from the cask; it'd be better on-draught. I'd like to try this properly. I've had far better beers in the style.

B-

---
10/25/14: bottle served into a snifter in Austin, TX. Expectations are fairly high given my first experience with this from the cask. Truncated notes:

A: 1.5 finger wide head. Nice khaki colour. Good creaminess/thickness. Full and supple looking, with an even consistency and a soft complexion. Retention is good - 8 minutes.

Body is an opaque black; not an ink or jet black, but a dark black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Looks good for a smoked porter.

Sm: Vanilla bean is present on the front end, but fades. I don't pick up on any overt smokiness - at least not in the rauchbier sense of smokiness. Smells like a nice porter, but not a smoked one: cream, dark malts, a hint of chocolate, milk sugar, and a bit of coconut.

Quite appealing. A pleasant aroma of above average strength. Vanilla is the star of the show, as it should be.

T: A lovely balance of dark malts, milk chocolate, lactose sugar, and authentic vanilla bean. Quite well built, if a bit simple. And not at all smokey. It's just a tasty vanilla porter with great balance and an effective flavour profile.

Not the most intricate brew out there, but the subtlety of the vanilla is lovely, and it's so well integrated I'm impressed.

Constructively, it has one of the briefest flavour durations of any porter I've ever tried - let alone purported smoked porters.

Mf: Creamy, smooth, wet, and medium-bodied. Supple and soft. Great overall presence on the palate. Texture complements the taste very well; the softness and creaminess elevate the beer beyond the potential of the taste.

Overall: A very drinkable enjoyable vanilla porter with no smokiness whatsoever, this is a tasty well-priced beer from Stone. One of the only Stone beers I'd actually want to purchase again. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. I'd recommend it to friends - begrudgingly, because it's a Stone brew. Up there with Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter, but again - where's the smokiness?

High B-

 2,895 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with an impressive head that leaves quite a few shards behind

Smell: Loads of vanilla in the aroma; black bread underneath; hard to detect the smoke

Taste: Black bread, up front, with the vanilla developing and overwhelming the middle; after the swallow, the charcoal flavors dominate, leaving a bitter coffee character in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The flavors in this beer to not meld together - they compete with one another with the vanilla up front and the char (rather than smoke) in the back; would be a very nice vanilla porter if the smoke was excluded but as a smoked porter, the original is much better

 698 characters

Photo of oline73
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark brown with some red when the light hits the edges. There is a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Tons of vanilla here. Not getting a whole lot of smoke. Mildly sweet roasted malt and vanilla beans.

Taste: I am getting some of the smoke here. The smoke and roast are a bit smoother than the chipotle version. The vanilla beans show up throughout the sip with a slight malt sweetness. There is a mild vanilla roast in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very smooth carbonation and a really dry finish.

Overall: I liked this better than the chipotle version. I enjoyed both, but I'm a sucker for vanilla. Very nice.

 741 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear light black color porter with a large light brown foamy head. Aroma of light chocolate notes with light smoky note notes with some vanilla undertones are pleasant. Taste is a mix between chocolate malt notes offset by some vanilla with discreet smoky flavors. Body is thinner then I was hoping for with good carbonation. Well brewed and easy to drinking but lacks some depth and body to be truly great.

 425 characters

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

Appearance: Dark mahogany body with excellent clarity. An inch of off-white head forms.

Smell: As advertised, there's plenty of smoke and vanilla, and they work pretty nicely together. The porter base is dry, roasty, slightly ashy. Vanilla gives an illusion of richness to an otherwise dry beer.

Palate: Lots of natural and tasty vanilla flavor, along with a present but nicely integrated smokiness. Roasted malt, a touch of cigar and coffee. The body is medium verging on light. Carbonation is at a lower-medium level. Vanilla lingers, but the finish dries up nicely without being particularly bitter. This is a really enjoyable take on an already good beer.

 661 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,359 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe