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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 536 | Ratings: 2,359
Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown in color with hints of dark amber when held up to the light and some light amounts of visible carbonation near the edges of the glass. The beer has a finger tall dense dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a couple of large thick patches and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of vanilla bean and smoke.

T: The flavor of this beer starts out with some dark roasted malts with notes of smoke and iodine. After that, the vanilla bean sweetness comes through and there is very light notes of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin but very smooth.

O: This beer is very enjoyable with the sweetness of the vanilla combining nicely with the smokey and roasted malt flavors. Easy to drink but more of a sipping beer than a session beer.

 958 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Displays a reasonably clear, dark brown body capped by a modest bone white head.

Smell: Nicely fragrant vanilla top note atop scents of light cocoa powder, mild roast coffee, and smokey peat.

Taste: Dark maltiness with taste of dark whole meal bread and hints of cocoa and coffee. Moderate sweetness. Vanilla coming through as a generous splash of A&W Cream Soda. A bit more coffee peeking through. Very subtle earthy bitterness tucked away in the back. Dries out for the most part, leaving you with a taste of lightly roasted, toasted vanilla bean pods.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, pleasant, and without any hard edges. Just as the standard iteration gives you just enough smoke character, so, too, does this give you just enough vanilla.

 799 characters

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

A: Pours black with a small off-white head on top, not much retention all and no lacing either.

S: Some roasted malt, chocolate, cream, and some vanilla. Not as vanilla/sweet as I was hoping. There is also a slight candied grape aroma at the end almost.

T: Rather cream flavored with some chocolate, there is a bit of roasted malt and certainly a bit of vanilla.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Rather smooth and creamy.

O: Was looking forward to this one, and it was just ok.

 496 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up at Goebel's in Wichita...

Pours an effervescent chestnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head. Nice head retention & lacing

S: Smokeyness, roastyness, faint vanilla notes

T: Follows the nose, some dryness too along with faint coffee notes up front. Smokey notes mix with mocha as this warms, some vanilla & woody notes as well. Finishes dry, roasty, with mocha notes

MF: Medium bodied, fairly firm carbonation

I think I prefer the plain Jane Version more, but glad I got to try it. I think vanilla in Porters is something I like in theory more than practice. Drinks alright...

 596 characters

Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pouted into my Devil's Backbone glass. Pretty close to black in color with a creamy head rising an inch above the top of the beer. Very nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma mixes roasty coffee with a creamy, vanilla bean presence. There is some milk chocolate flavors coming through along with a hint of smoke. I really like the coffee and vanilla cream combination, but like the regular version I wish there was more smoke to it.

The vanilla flavors really stand out in the taste. It gives it a creamy, sweet flavor that really compliments well. I get a little more of a coffee flavor to the darker malts up front, but a roasty bitterness starts to take over in the finish. Again though, the smoke is way too reserved for having the word "smoked" on the bottle.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being about average. Overall, I really liked how well the vanilla complimented the roasted malts. As for the smoke though, I have the same problem I have with the regular version of the beer in that the smoke is way too reserved and barely noticeable. I love smoked beers, but every time I drink a Stone version I end up disappointed in the lack of smokiness. It was a very good beer that might have been great with a little more smoke.

 1,279 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bottle with my Brother and Karsten, enjoyed chilled in a stout glass.

The color is dark brown bordering on black with thin beige head good retention with fine bead and lace that sticks. The smell is more vanilla than any beer I have had in recent memory with nice floral sweet and earthy attribute which augments the base very well. The smoothness carries into the taste with nice mild creamy texture which compliments the mild smoke in the malt with moderate carbonation and semi-dry finish..

The flavor is really good with a lot more complexity than most beers of this strength with nice caramel in the malt with mild roasted and slight smoke with the vanilla adding a smooth and almost creamy accent to enhance the sweetness somewhat. I really like the way the vanilla works but I have a feeling the chipotle may be a little more to my taste since the smoke in the pepper could be complimentary to the base. I like the vanilla but it does seem to soften the smoke aspect I enjoy most in the original.

 1,023 characters

Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date

LOOK: Dark brown hue, clear, ample tan head

SMELL: Vanilla, cocoa, mild char, dried grass, ghost-like smokiness

TASTE: Burnt grain, very smooth, mild smokiness, coffee grounds, kiss of vanilla, hint of alcohol, nutty, moderate hoppiness, ashy burnt finish

Trying this again after over a year, perhaps my palate changed or the beer was tweaked a bit ... flavors seem to mesh well together. Worth a go.

 445 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask in the Bistro.

A: Very dark, pretty much black with a tan head.

S: Smell is like vanilla ice cream to me. But it still retained some of the smokiness.

T: Initially it tasted like a great vanilla float, to be honest. Very wide range of flavors though. The smoked flavor isn't as noticeable, it becomes more roasted/nutty.

M: Very smooth, seemed to coat the mouth a bit. Very pleasant.

D: I could drink this all day.

 436 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in DC at the Stone Tap Takeover event. Unfortunately this was the only version of the smoked porter I got to try.

a - Pours a dark black folor with one inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of vanilla beans, roasted malts, and chocolate. Vanilla dominates the nose, but I really enjoy it.

t - Tastes of vanilla, roasted malts, and chocolate, with vanilla dominating again. A little bit of smoke, but not too much.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty easy drinking vanilla smoked porter. This was one of the surprises of the night for me. I thought it smelt and tasted great, though I didn't get a whole lot of smoke thanks to the vanilla. Would definitely try again.

 762 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

Dark brown appearance with a dense, towering, beige head. The aroma brings prominent vanilla, pretty much dominating the scent. The flavor is primarily vanilla. Smoke gets lost a bit here. Pretty sweet throughout. Some bitterness in the finish, even a bit rough on the palate. This was alright.

 325 characters

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.

 338 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark crimson mahogany hue, typically I recall the smoked porter to be a bit darker in color. Huge billowing light tan head fine speckled lacing covers the sides of my glass very pleasant looking brew. Aromatics offer up a nutty/vanilla earthiness combined with dark chocolate/milk chocolate cocoa notes, the nose invites the notion of dessert or something very decadent about to reach the palate. Balanced flavor profile upfront vanilla bean character, with charred roasted malt and a mild smokey character offering up a nice bitterness to dry the palate out. In addition to the dark roasts, smoked malts, and vanilla beans this beer is packing around 50 or so IBUS. I get a nice herbal hop in the backend and it plays to how drinkable and well crafted this special winter release is, medium to light bodied nice textures a bit more residual sugars or caramelization on the palate but still finishes clean and dry ample moderate carbonation carries the flavor profile very well. Overall a go to beer, if your lucky enough to have Stone in your distribution network where you live, give this a try this winter.

 1,109 characters

Photo of stakem
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 10/1/10 at the Alewife's Stone total tap takeover event.

Pours a dark brown color with some lighter brown clarity around the edges. The head is tan in color and receeds to a layering around the edges of the glass. Lacing clings all around the glassware in patches.

The aroma of this brew is smoked goodness over roasty malt. There is a chocolate malt underlay and a touch of vanilla sweetness from the bean addition. The smoked quality is all upfront and the vanilla plays a minor role in the backend of this brew. Well played, it is subtle and makes for a very enjoyable nose. Once the brew warms, the vanilla really comes forward with a sweetness that never quite makes it into the flavor.

The taste is smokey and roasty with a burnt grain bitterness upfront that yields to the vanilla bean flavored sweetness through the body that is shorted lived before the rest of the flavor takes back over. There is a lingering flavor of bitter roasted malt that is quite smokey left clinging inside the mouth. As it warms, there is some citrus hop character that comes forward which was previously hidden beneath the smoke and burnt grain.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a moderate level of carbonation. Overall it is quite drinkable but maybe just a bit more forward sweetness or vanilla flavoring would really drive this one home in the drinkability department. The smell of this brew was a bit deceiving, it made me anticipate quite a sweet vanilla profile which was not as forward or bold as the nose led on. Regardless it was well done and I would have it again.

 1,602 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.51/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from Julio's
Pours a solid dark brown with brilliant garnet highlights and a huge fluffy mocha head that persists forever. smells of caramel, chocolate, smoke and vanilla mostly with little to no hop aroma easily sniffed. The taste is a nice mix of chocolate smoke caramel and vanilla. The smoke and vanilla duke it out for top billing and ultimately the vanilla wins. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet creamy almost syrupy mouthfeel. I'm glad I got to try this, but I think the vanilla is a bit over the top and competes with the other flavors rather than enhancing them.

 611 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice looking beer, though the head just keeps on growing off the initial pour. Guess I could have done it less aggressively. Regardless. The vanilla is a nice tone on here, but there is so much of it that it gives this very sweet tone to things that seems too pronounced to me. I salute the idea and the execution, but I think it could stand to be a bit more rounded.

 367 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pitch black with a large, soft, bubbly, dense, brownish head that has great retention

S - very faint; roasted malts and light smokiness; not nearly as intense as I would have thought

T - sweet and smoky, vanilla, earthy, roasty, faint bitter coffee, cola; the vanilla plays well with the smokiness and takes some of the bitterness away from the roasted malts

M - medium to full bodied, well carbonated, a bit creamy

This is a nice, rich, complex beer. The smoked malt and vanilla are a great combination. The richness and sweetness actually add to the drinkability by playing down the bitterness. This is definitely worth a try.

 636 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice tan head three fingers, but forms rather quickly on the pour and settles quickly also. Body color is a very dark dark walnut brown red hues also. Compared to the Chiptole pretty much identical although this one didn't seem to foam up as big as the other.

Sweet roast malts sensing, but not much vanilla angle. Some faint smoke but not really getting accented. Creamy sense with the vanilla. Smells good, but the chipotle version highlights the malt and roast better.

Vanilla creaminess really jumps to the forefront highlighting a velvety smooth body and texture. Roasty dark malts linger slightly complimenting vanilla tones well. Smokey angle seems a bit lost with the sweetness though.

Overall it's still a very tasty porter, with a great feel more than anything, however I prefer the Chipotle version with its emphasis on bringing out the roast and smoke of the porter considerably more. A decent brew regardless.

 981 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to track down a 12 ounce bottle of this much sought after nectar. No bottling date or other freshness info offer, but the consumer is encourage to "Enjoy Fresh" I do not have to be told twice.

The pour is dark brown, dark tan head, and leaving decent fine lacing.

The nose is of milk chocolate, and of course, vanilla.

Notes of more chocolate, darker, smoky grains and moderate sweetness, provided by the vanilla infusion.

Very smooth, light and creamy in the mouth.

Ehh, not really my favorite. One and done for me.

Best application would be as a dessert beer, for example with a decadent chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, so sounds pretty damn good actually.

 678 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, brown-caramel coloring with a frothy, clingy, off-white head that clings all over the glass as you drink. Aromas of rich, creamy vanilla, subtle smoke, milk chocolate, and subtle coffee notes. Very rich and creamy sweet nose. Flavors are smoked forward, with a bitter coffee introduction, followed quickly by rich and sweet creamy characteristics, chocolate notes, and a subtle bitterness underneath it all. Very well balanced, and sweet overall, like a sweet dessert cake. Smooth and light in mouth, with a roasted and slightly bitter blend to the creamy linger in the aftertaste. The finish is smooth and slick, with a subtle linger of bitter and sweet balance. Tasty and very drinkable. Great brew.

 771 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Black with a thick one finger head. Head recedes gently and leaves a plethora of lace.

S- Straight up vanilla. Honestly, how could you pick out anything else here? Smells great.

T- Not getting any of the smoke, very little anyway. The vanilla bean is all but over powering. Leaves the mouth watering.

M- Creamy. Carbonation sneeks up at the end of the sips. Seems a tad watery for a porter.

D/O- Good one and done beer. Not sure if I could handle anymore than that. Glad to have tried it though.

 502 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Three smoked porters tasted side by side at Churchkey last night, regular, vanilla and chipotle. Served in a wine glass.

Beer is black / dark brown with a thin broken head of brown tiny bubbles that leaves minimal lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low, they all three looked exactly the same.

VANILLA!!! that's all I can smell, makes the beer smell super sweet like you are smelling vanilla extract.

VANILLA also wins in the palate, the beer is good and medium to light in body, easy to drink to an extent but the vanilla makes the beer VERY vanilla-y and really sweet too. Side by side with the other two, this one loses the threeway. I probably wouldn't drink it again but it was fun to have once.

 705 characters

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

nitially taken by the way the vanilla rounds the porter bitterness. An all around pleasant drinking experience. Only knock against this is a slightly metallic finish. Pours out a nice dark brown, with a medium airy, frothy beige head. Aroma of vanilla somehow tricks the mind into thinking chocolate. taste has the vanilla rounding out the roast grains, mild sweetness with bitterness lingering in the background. Overall nice presentation.

 440 characters

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

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark orange brown. Thin very light tan head that dissipates slowly to a ring around the glass. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee with a hint of vanilla. Flavor starts with nuts and roasted malt, then light smoke and hops finishing nutty and roasted. Leaves a pleasant lingering slightly smokey vanilla and roasted malt aftertaste. Medium bodied. The smoke flavor is rather subdued in this porter compared to others I've tried, but is compensated by the complexity of flavors and a unique flavor progression.

 563 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a hlaf finger of head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. the aroma was very nice consisting of chocolate, vanilla, slight smokiness, and a faint coffee notes. like the nose chocolate and vanilla dominate the palate with cocoa and slight smokey accents with a touch of coffee at the end. the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, smokey, slight astringent, and creamy finish. it drank very good and was very tasty. I'm glad I had the chance to have this one again.

 575 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a short 1/2" head that breaks down quickly. Some spots of lace stick on the sides of the glass.

Smell: roasted malt, vanilla, and a hint of smoke is easily detctable by the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, light smokiness, a muted vanilla tone, milk chocolate, and a moderate bitterness create a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Light crispness throughout. Long lasting aftertaste as the soft vanilla and smokiness linger on the tongue.

Overall: a very drinkable smoked porter that would go great with a dessert.

 566 characters

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.