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 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 Mikus
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This hits all of the notes that are advertised. Tastes like vanilla-infused smoke. Heavy on the vanilla. Not my favorite combo, I find. That said, it does a great job of providing the said components of the recipe. Make sure that you REALLY like these components (could I suggest a sampler) before diving into the whole snifter or bomber. Love Stone, Smoked Porter was not a big hit for me, and this wasn't either. However, you definitely get what you are asking for with this one. Maybe I am just not a big fan of the 'smoked' aspect. If you are, try this. I, for one, will be trying some of their other brews.

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Photo of Chastise
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The vanilla flavor hits a moment after it's in your mouth, and is gone before you swallow. Pleasant and very drinkable, with a slightly-roasted (but not quite coffee-roasted) aftertaste.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber-brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. Thick cream colored head which leaves major lacing as it settles.

Nose starts with the smoke though it isn't overpowering. Some rye notes(though I don't believe rye is used in this brew) to go with mild roasted malt and pepper. I'm not picking up much, if any vanilla.

Mild smoke on the first sip which increases a bit as I hold it in my mouth. Creamy vanilla that was missing from the nose shows up after the smoke. Some earthy, almost peaty hop notes with pepper, caramel, bitter chocolate and very mild roasty malt.

Thin mouth feel that leaves me wanting more. Some creaminess to go with medium carbonation.

Overall, I decent tasting beer that could use a bit more vanilla and roasted malt. It doesn't need they thick mouth feel of an imperial style but a bump up from what it is would be nice.

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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 Trooper92292
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I popped this open on a cold winter night. The Vanilla taste and aroma is there but it isn't overwhelming, well balanced. Beautiful color in a glass. A very great porter. Next time I'm at my local craft beer stop I'll be picking a bottles of this. Perfect for this time of year. Stone has yet again made another fantastic beer.

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Photo of hophugger
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep chocolate brown with just a hint of light working its way through. Average head and minimal lacing. Aroma is light, giving me ever so light amount of smoke. Taste is on the light side for a porter IMO, but is good overall. Smokiness is very faint and I feel that this could be elevated a little more to ad some body to this brew. Vanilla hints are nice, just enough, and adds a nice cool smoothness to the beer. Slight watery finish, but overall, a decent porter and another good brew by Stone

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: The darkest brown imaginable -- nearly black, if not held up to a light source. Perfect porter color. Nice cream colored head, good foamy film settlement. Light sheets of lace until it dissipates.

Aroma: Roasted malts, faint chocolate, vanilla.

Taste: Vanilla is perfect in this. Not so much of a smokey element, but all the other traits ring true -- roasted malts, faint chocolate. Slightly watery finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery in that good porter way.

Overall: Totally dig this beer. It gets better every sip, and they have the vanilla spot-on.

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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.

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Photo of zac16125
4.01/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a pint glass
2014 vintage

A: Pours a dark brown with ruby hues when held to light. 3 plus fingers width of light tan head builds and has good retention before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4

S: Chocolate, coffee, a lactose like cream, subtle char, and lots of nice vanilla. Fairly simple, but hits all the traditional porter notes, then the big vanilla characters adds a pleasant richness. 4.25

T: Roasted malt, light roast coffee, bakers chocolate, cream. The vanilla notes are presents but aren’t as strong as the aroma. Some herbaceous characters as well. 4

M/D: Medium body, carbonation on the heavier side, a bit thin, drinkability is good though. 3.5

O: Good beer. Not mind blowing, but solid. Wish the vanilla from the nose was as prevalent in the taste. 4

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Photo of EvoRich
4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: On the lighter side for a porter. Lights shines through pretty easily. Big fluffy head develops while pouring.

Smell: Roasted malts, nuts and vanilla.

Taste: Very mellow taste overall, with a strong sweet vanilla flavor. There is a flavor of smoked and roasty malts blended nicely with the vanilla

Feel: Creamy, yet medium bodied and easy drinking.

Overall: Very please with this beer! Very sweet and easy drinking. The flavor is mellow, and just a joy to drink!

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Growler poured at about 50-60 degrees into wide-mouth stout glass.

Fairly short and soapy tan head over a deep brown body (mahogany edges when held to the light). Very good lacing.

Aromas lead with the smoky wood, salty meat, peaty qualities. Some roasted coffee and chocolate in the background.

Very creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Flavors are awesome - nice roasted malt, and a lot more sweetness comes through than in the aromas. Milk chocolate, vanilla beans, and a touch of sweet spice. Not overly smokey - just right.

Tasty, and very easy drinking... glad I picked this one out of the 20+ I had to choose from!

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Photo of Budinetz
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter at 55 degrees. 2014 release, purchased about a week ago after it was released. (It does state on the bottle to drink fresh and at 5.9% I am inclined to agree).

Pours a midnight red color with an antique white colored head that dissipates slowly an actually keeps a thin layer on the beer the entire time I drink it. Decent head retention and nice lacing around the glass.

Smells pretty bland actually...very characteristic of a porter, bit with a hint of vanilla and smoked sausage, almost as if my Yankee candle is sitting next to a smoked bologna I'm eating...very interesting.

Tastes of sweet roasted malts, vanilla bean, milk chocolate, Kona coffee, smoked meat, bitter hops, and divine roastiness. This brew begins sweet and ends very bitter. Aweome balance and great flavor all around. Although recommended to drink fresh, I wonder if the bitterness would subside with aging and just be full in sweet.

Mouthfeel is interesting. Due to the high amount of alpha acids from the ops added during the boil, this brew has a seriously bitter finish that is amazingly pleasant. The sweet roasted malt and vanilla notes balance this brew out quite well. It makes your tongue dance!

Overall this beer is very different, however very traditional, all at the same time. The porter style is represented well, but with an interesting twist of flavors. The flavors are taking to each agreement of sweet and bitter. Definitely worth purchasing a bottle or two.


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Photo of mschantz
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich dark brown, nearly black with a huge flush head that stands up very well. Rich toasty nose with a hit of BBQ sauce smell. Really didn't pick up vanilla on the nose. Taste is very nice malty, chocolaty, smokey sweetness with a slightly bitter finish. Mouth feel is smooth with the vanilla apparent at the back of the palate.

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Photo of jdshep
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark brown poor with about an inch and a half to two inch frothy head. If you hold it to the light you can see hints of red.

In the intial flavor I get the chocolate with the finish flavor coming in a little bitter and smokey coffee. This was an easy, smooth drink for me, had to consciencely slow down once or twice. This could easily become a strong session beer.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown, rather thin, and very little foam.

The aroma is just wonderful, coffee, chocolate, and tons of vanilla.

Smoke, woody, vanilla, coffee, and tons of roasted notes.

Light-medium bodied, light carbonation, thin, smoky, bitter, sweet finish.

Overall, not my favorite porter, nor Stone brew, but tasty and worth a shot.

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Photo of PeterParker
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with red on the edges. Nice brown head that lasts pretty long. Looks great in the goblet.

Nose has roastiness, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate. Very subtle but good aroma.

Different kind of porter. Coffee, roasted malt, vanilla is on the back end. Some smoke still coming through which is nice. A bit of a tangy finish which is nice and unexpected. Better than I expected.

A bit thin for a porter, slick and medium carbonation.

Really good. I've heard mixed reviews of this but I really like it. A nice take on the original smoked porter.

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Photo of travolta
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Appearance: very minimal head retention, decent lacing. Totally black but a beautiful dark ruby when held to the light.

Nose: beautiful whole vanilla bean, coffee and a bit of chocolate. Very delicate and well balanced. Very nice nose.

Taste: Bitter and chocolate at first, which dries out to a clean finish. Not much vanilla in the taste.

Notes: This is an excellent porter, but I want extremely mouth shattering from my Stone beers. This is a great beer.....but it's not a "Stone"...

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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.

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Photo of philbe311
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - A standard pour yields just shy of three fingers worth of billowing slightly late to develop rich creamy light khaki colored frothy goodness... Rock star retention... The frothy goodness turns even creamier as it settles a bit, but it never disappears or approaches anything close to lacing... A light to moderate bit of spry carbonation streaks can be seen around the top of the glass... The color is a highly murky slightly brooding medium brown... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass... This is a very nice looking brew...

S - The nose is equal part vanilla bean ice cream and lightly roasted malty goodness... The two aroma ebb and flow and compliment one another very nicely... The next layer reveals hints of sweet milk chocolate and a faint whiff of freshly brewed coffee... Very pleasing...

T - Tastes a lot like I remember the base Stone Smoked Porter tasting... The vanilla bean addition is largely missing in action... This isn't a bad thing as the base beer is one of my favorites, but it's a wee bit disappointing... Roasted malt and light smoke dominate the flavor profile... I would be very curious to do a side by side comparison with the base beer to see how they actually differ...

M - Medium bodied... Lush and creamy to start before turning a bit drier with a chalky finish... Limited carbonation... Fairly smooth... Even and consistent...

D - Another outstanding offering from Stone... The appearance is world class... The aroma is excellent... The taste is outstanding but lacking in terms of the vanilla bean addition... The mouthfeel is slightly above average... An excellent beer, but the absence of vanilla on the palate is a shame... I would drink again and would love to do the side by side tasting with the other Stone Smoked Porter offerings...

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Very attractive looking label in the traditional painted on gargoyle themed Stone fashion. Front label give ABV info and a small description of the beer. Back label gives a great back story on the beer, a great description of the beer, web info, a bit of brewery info, and states “Drink Fresh”. Front neck label states “Stone Limited Release Winter Edition”. Back neck label has Stone gargoyle. Enjoy by 3/15/14 printed on the bottle.

Appearance: A aggressive pour from its 22oz brown bomber into a 16oz English pint led to a 3 finger tanish light brown head of a medium density atop a deep opaque brown beer with amber hues visible when held to the light. Head retention is amazing at 5min 56sec while still retaining a thick coating and ring with a very impressive lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is of a nice dark roasty bready malt and heavy natural vanilla bean. Also has a nice smokiness detectable that is not quite as strong as the regular version of Stone Smoked Porter.

Flavor/Taste: Taste is of smoke and a nice vanilla infused roasted chocolate maltiness on the front end. Smoke and vanilla carry through to the mid point with the vanilla bean flavor becoming more prevalent and the roast becoming deeper and darker blending into the coffee flavors that start to become very prevalent. Back end is dominated by deep roasted dark chocolate and coffee malts with the smoke seeping back into the picture along with a light vanilla bean flavor. Aftertaste is of very deep roasted coffee.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: On the full side of medium bodied with an above average amount of carbonation and a smooth creamy mouthfeel leading to a very drinkable brew.

Overall/Comments: I thought this was an excellent beer that was a great twist on an already classic porter. The vanilla bean blended seamlessly into the existing flavor profile. Try it if you can find it. Consumed 12/28/2013. Classified as an American Porter @ 5.9% ABV.

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Photo of seedyone
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

02/05/14 On tap. Well placed as a porter. Smoke is way back as is the vanilla...but there is much to like in this glass. It could be...smokier...sweeter...warmer...more vanilla-y...more a lot of things. Any of which would mess with what it wants to be. I get it & I like it.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bottle poured into a Stone snifter.
5.9% ABV, Enjoy by 03/25/14

A - Dark brown, this smoked porter looks nearly black in it's bulbous glass, crowned by an ivory pile of tight foam that loosely dots the glass with lace.

S - Wafts of fresh vanilla beans are interwoven with bittersweet chocolate-draped raisin nuances and a faint trail of smoke for an exciting and unique nose.

T - Tepid vanilla remnants maintain their natural, not artificial flavor but have since faded towards the background of this delicately smoked porter as baker's chocolate and burnt toast rise to the surface.

M - Medium-light bodied but very smooth, this porter is dry with a roasted profile that finishes slightly bitter with a touch of smokiness lingering on the palate.

O - Unfortunately Stone's Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans, a brew I've much been looking forward to, has succumb to the overwhelming variety of my beer fridge and wasn't drank soon enough. Having not experienced this before, I can't speak on the changes it's undergone, a month and a half past their "enjoy by" date, but what I can tell from drinking this bottle is that I'll be keeping my eyes out for it when it's released again because the natural Madagascar vanilla bean additions are a wonderful compliment to the beer. I'm sure they're only much better fresh.

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Photo of Antikythera
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a: dark, barely brown when held to the light. Creamy head sticks to sides of glass.

s: baked goods, almost like chocolate cake.

t: rich and toasty. More caramelized than smokey.

m: creamy and fizzy at the same time.

o: at first I thought I would have liked a bit more vanilla in this, but ultimately everything is balanced very well to make a really nice, interesting, rich and creamy porter.

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Photo of Roguer
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly thin and relatively light brown pour, with a nice two finger cream head with excellent retention and very nice lacing.

Initially smells more coffee forward, but more vanilla comes forward as it warms. Chocolate malt and cream.

Surprisingly, very bitter, with a combination of hops and roasted coffee notes. Hints of dark cocoa malt, very little presence of any vanilla. Slightly smoky and charred, but not very strong.

Relatively thin mouth feel, giving very little satisfaction, but making the beer very drinkable.

This is not at all a bad beer, but it hardly seems to hit on anything that I would have looked for with the beer of this name. Neither something I would refuse, nor seek out.

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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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